September 11, 2011 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
"Acts of Remembrance"
I have struggled this week with what to write in this column as we pause to remember the 10th anniversary of September 11th. With all the beautiful words, memories and tributes that have been written, spoken, sung and prayed today and this past week, I find that any words I try to add to our nation's remembrance to be superfluous at best.
Then this morning in church, as we prayed the Prayer of St. Francis, I remembered a quote also attributed to St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words.” In light of my struggle (and perhaps yours as well) to come up with words that are adequate to honor and remember those who died ten years ago, and those who so courageously gave their lives to save others, perhaps it would be helpful to rephrase this saying from St. Francis.
“Remember and honor those who died, and those who gave their lives for others on September 11th always, and when necessary use words.” The best way we can remember and honor those who died and those who served, is not with our words, but with our acts of kindness, love, courage and service to others. The Bible tells us that love casts out fear. Those who commit any acts of terror attempt to reverse this by trying to get others to believe that fear can cast out love. In this effort though, the terrorists always fail. Beginning with the immediate response of firefighters and police officers, along with the passengers on United Flight 93, it was clear yet again that love would be, and will always be, stronger than fear.
On this tenth anniversary of September 11th, may we commit to always remember, and when necessary use words. May we do our part to be sure that love is always stronger than fear in our world. May we do our part to live out these words that are also attributed to St. Francis:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
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