Litany to Commemorate the Victims of 9/11

On this day we remember the fear and the anger, the shock and the chaos that shrouded our nation 20 years ago.  We cried out that day for answers, for peace, for justice. We shed countless tears for lives lost, for families ripped apart, for people missing and injured.

We will not forget the beauty of each soul that fell that day – the promise that their lives held, the hopes they had for the future.

We remember the 2,606 innocent victims of the Twin Towers. Abide with us, God. 

We remember the 125 innocent victims at the Pentagon. Abide with us, God.

We remember the 246 innocent victims on the airplanes. Abide with us, God.

We remember the first responders – the police and firefighters and paramedics – who faced the chaos with unimaginable courage to save and give hope to all that they could. We remember those who survived and the 411 who perished in the line of duty. Abide with us, God.

Holy God, we know that you hold their lives in your hands. Though they have fallen here, they are not lost forever. Through your Spirit, you have lifted them up, close to your heart where there is no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.

We cry out to you once more this day, Almighty God. Give us the courage to be peacemakers, to carry on in love, to have hearts uncorrupted by hatred. Speak to those who would be lured by the power and madness, the violence and the evil that is terrorism in our world. Show them that this seeming power is never the final victor. Touch their hearts so that they may see that love is stronger than death, that goodness is stronger than evil, that light casts out all darkness. Give them a way forward so that the world may be a home for all of us.

Gracious God, hear our prayer. Amen.

Note: I envisioned a ritual to go along with this litany. We have a large, clear glass jar on the chancel. As each group of victims is listed, we drop a few flower petals of different colors into the water (one color for each group). In the prayer following, the water is swirled so that the petals are seen being lifted and swirling together. In God’s grace and mercy, the dead are not lost, but they are lifted to new life eternal in God’s luminous presence.

Image credit: “Tribute to September 11, New York City.” Photo by Dennis Leung, 2010.

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