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Sharing in Worship on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

September 11, 2011

I don’t know, feels like it might be the right day too come out of blog hiding and share some of the thoughts that grew out of our service today.

We had a special moment in the service where I invited folks to share 1) Their experiences on 9/11 and 2) how they were changed. I am sick over the way everyone went on and on about how things were different after the attacks, and then a few short months later, it was as if we were back to normal, spiraling into debt and cycles of pride and violence. I wanted more for us, collectively, and AI especially hoped for some level of revival in our churches, with maybe a more measured approach to contemplation.

Some folks got it. We heard one person speak about what they no longer take for granted. That is part of the experience for some of us. Someone mentioned the gratitude about simple things. Someone else told us how she had worried for her daughter’s safety, only to find the young woman on the end of the phone speaking with calm assurance, sounding very grown-up, and well on her way to being a capable adult herself. Someone spoke about being on the phone on a business call when the person on the other end, a New York Resident, revealed that he had lost friends in the attacks.

Someone shared the story of being a child of immigrant parents, and dealing with harsh words as people would approach them, unbidden in the mall, to berate them for speaking in their native language and not just blending in better. Some just sat and listened. Some cried. It was holy and important work. I was grateful that so many were willing to share, as I believe, in our collective rush to “get over it,” we missed some of the important work of grieving. I hope today gave a window on what that feels like, and folks didn’t mind spending the extra time in the service.

I know I felt like we were imposing on some of the young parents who were juggling kids, but we do provide a craft area in the back of the church now where kids can divert their attention a bit and feel “part of things” without having to sit still. The service naturally runs longer when we pass the microphone around, but as long as their are a multitude of voices, it feels alright to take a little more time on special days. It doesn’t get much more special than the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

I hope you spend the next few days with appreciation, without fear, reflecting and healing a little more. I hope those who attend our service on the common at 6:30 tonight will be further affirmed.
I pray our world changes, into a place where our unity inspires more than our differences do.

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