But looking back is not the only thing we can do this weekend. We can look forward. We can honor the heroism of the first responders by celebrating the resilience and courage and commitment to duty of those who serve in those roles today. Our hearts can be strengthened when we hear stories of how people have put their lives together after enduring great loss. Even as we denounce those who plotted and carried out such acts of violence, we can recognize our common humanity with even our enemies. Working toward the just and peaceful world that God intends for all of us means we must use our memories and feelings as a foundation on which to build that future. It’s hard work, yes, and seems far, far off from these days of heightened security and daily reminders of violence, but as we remember the resiliency, the compassion, the courage, the commitment, of the past ten years, we know we have the tools to build that future.
Bishop Adams, of Central New York, wrote a thoughtful letter to all of us in the September diocesan E-Messenger, which I urge you to read. He closed with this prayer from Frank Griswold, our former Presiding Bishop, who walked through the dust and ashes which covered St. Paul’s Chapel on the morning of September 12, 2001:
God the compassionate one, whose loving care extends to all the world, we remember this day your children of many nations and many faiths whose lives were cut short by the fierce flames of anger and hatred. Console those who continue to suffer and grieve, and give them comfort and hope as they look to the future. Out of what we have endured, give us the grace to examine our relationships with those who perceive us as the enemy, and show our leaders the way to use our power to serve the good of all for the healing of the nations. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord who, in reconciling love, was lifted up from the earth that he might draw all things to himself. Amen.