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A Service of Remembrance for September 11

By the Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

 

The following service may be used in a church or community setting, Christian or interfaith. The central “Remembrance” section is simply suggested to allow for creativity and input by those participating.  Use whatever talent and resources that may be available to you, from art to music to poets to speakers. Holy Communion in a Christian setting is provided as an option.

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L = Leader     C = Congregation

 

 

GATHERING MUSIC

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

L:         On September 11, 2001, our lives were changed.  Loss came into our world in a shocking and tragic way – loss of innocence as a nation,  loss of security in our communities,  loss of lives and livelihood for so many individuals.  We shall never be the same after that black day.  And yet we have survived.  We are marked and scarred and still find need for healing, but we have survived to see September 11, 2002.  For this, we can give thanks to the God who provides all good things for our being as individuals and as a nation.  Therefore let us mark this day by inviting God’s presence among us to bless us as we remember our losses, give thanks for our survival and pray for our future.

 

 

CALL TO WORSHIP:

 

L:         Blessed are you, O King of the universe:

C:        You comfort your people in their sorrows and needs.

 

L:         Praise to you, O God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful:

C:        You guide us along the way of life with a caring hand.

 

L:         Heavenly Father, great Shepherd of the sheep:

C:        You give us green pastures to lie down in;  you restore our souls.

 

L:         Be present with us today as we remember.

C:        We are a remembering people. We are a people marked by our past.

 

L:         In our remembering, heal us, O God.

C:        In our remembering, build us up.

 

L:         In our remembering, help us to find our way.

C:        In our remembering, guide us to a future filled with hope.

 

L:         For our future may only be found in you.

C:        In you alone is all our hope.

 

 

OPENING SONG(S)

 

 

PRAYER:

L:         May God be with us.

C:        And with those in need.

 

L:         Let us pray.  (Free prayer is offered)

C:        Amen

 

 

REMEMBRANCE

In a Sunday morning Christian worship setting, this section may be the usual Word section of lessons and preaching alternating with songs/hymns.  Use either lessons assigned for the day or lessons with the theme of comfort and hope.

In a Community Interfaith service setting, this section can be as creative as local planners choose to make it.  It should reflect not only a looking back, but an identification of the ways in which our nation and our community have survived through the goodness of God, who has given and continues to give strength, healing, comfort and guidance.  The section might include readings from various faith scriptures alternating with stories of personal experience, historic national statements, encouragements, etc. A single speaker may or may not be featured, depending upon how the section is arranged. Special music, songs and short prayers may be interspersed.

 

OFFERINGS

If Holy Communion is NOT offered at this service, then offerings may be gathered here.  Designate offerings for local or national disaster relief.  Special music may occur during the receiving of the offering.  If Holy Communion is planned, then the offering should follow the Litany below.

 

 

LITANY OF REMEMBRANCE:

 

L:         Let us pray to the God of healing and strength for ourselves, for those in need, for our nation, and for our future.

            Lord of the nations, God of our strength, the images of the tragedy of September 11 are still so vivid in our minds and in our senses.  What we saw, how we felt, and what we said is still so very present for us.  Yet with a gentle and caring hand, you have lifted us from the depths of despair and guided us to this time of remembrance one year later. 

C:        With truly grateful hearts, we thank you, O Lord.

 

L:         You have given us strength beyond our expectation to meet the challenges of living in our post-Nine/Eleven world. 

C:        With truly grateful hearts, we thank you, O Lord.

 

L:         You have touched us with your healing power and dulled the pain that may never go away by giving us hope again, when at first we felt so hopeless.

C:        With truly grateful hearts, we thank you, O Lord.

 

L:         As we look back, we remember the lives of those who died so tragically.  We remember the heroism of firefighters, police, nurses, doctors, clergy and so many ordinary citizens who gave of themselves for others – and continued to do so throughout the year.

C:        We remember with thanksgiving, O Lord.

 

L:         We remember those who stepped forward so swiftly to fight the good fight on our behalf against the evils of terror, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

C:        We remember with thanksgiving, O Lord.

 

L:         We remember the courageous leadership of the heads of our government,  standing with us in our sorrow and lending aid, guidance and decisive action to help us move forward.

C:        We remember with thanksgiving, O Lord.

 

L:         As we look forward, O God, we realize the stark reality that terror still affects our daily lives.  Help us in our fearfulness to place our hope and our trust in you.

C:        Lord, hear our prayer.

 

L:         Guide and inspire us and our leaders to make wise decisions for our future, for our homeland, and for our people.  Keep us from self-righteousness, arrogant pride and prejudice.  Unite us to champion justice, peace and freedom.

C:        Lord, hear our prayer.

 

L:         You alone know what hurts remain among us.  Send us your healing Spirit.  Comfort those who mourn.  Bring us all to the fullness of health and joy that comes from your love.

C:        Lord, hear our prayer.

 

L:         God of all creation, Author of all good, faithful Provider of all our needs, to you we give our praises, our prayers and our thanksgivings on this day of remembrance.  May all honor and glory be yours, O God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), now and forever.

C:        Amen

 

 

HOLY COMMUNION (optional)

 

If Holy Communion is desired, the service would continue with the Peace, Offering and the Communion Rite of your tradition.

 

BLESSING & SENDING:

L: Today as we have marked and remembered, we have affirmed that we are one people in one nation, united around the foundations of life, liberty and justice for all. God has brought us this far and will continue to be with us in our future. You have heard that word of promise in all that we have done this day.  We will be healed.  We will prosper again.  Now go forth into the world, lending aid, giving comfort, lifting hearts, sharing your talents and gifts for the benefit of one another, of our nation, and of all the world. And may God go with you and give you peace.

C: Amen! Amen!

 

CLOSING SONG