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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Seeking peace in community

 

Remembering Sept. 11

September 11, 2022

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High,
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
    by the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
    the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to shine upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:76–79

Drill at Dusk

The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, are 21 years in our past. The consequences of that infamous day continue to bring suffering and pain. Today we remember those who perished and seek to live in such a way that the lives lost bring good amid ongoing division and mistrust.

When our God brought forth the people of the covenant from Egypt, they were commanded to remember the day of the Passover for eternity. In doing so they would not only remember the suffering they endured but also give thanks for their salvation. They were to create a community in which all would be welcome.

Our ministers of the word and sacrament serving in federal institutions have opportunities each day to create welcoming community. They do so by shining the light of the gospel in areas where darkness might otherwise prevail. And in so doing, guide the feet of those with whom they work in the way of peace.

One example comes from a military chaplain serving in a training command for those entering the military. Approached by a young recruit our chaplain immediately realized the recruit was deeply disturbed after just a few weeks of training. In discussion, the chaplain discovered the recruit met all the criteria to qualify as a conscientious objector. The recruit had been told prior to entry that his new job would not require participation in combat. And yet, his training required him not only to gain combat skills but to always carry a rifle with him.

Through further counseling and advocacy, our chaplain helped guide the feet of all involved (commanders, instructors and the recruit) to walk the path of peace by releasing the recruit from his obligation. He is now studying psychology in his home state seeking to find a new path in which he can serve his country in the future.

On one hand, Sept. 11 brought our nation together as we sought to respond to the tragic events as a community united in the face of tragedy. On the other hand, many innocents were vilified based solely on their country of origin, the color of their skin or the faith they embraced.

Today, may we learn from the past and embrace the future as people of the covenant living in community welcoming all. May we seek to overcome differences and shine the light of the gospel to guide not only other’s feet but our own as well in the way of peace.

And may we pray for our chaplains as they embrace their calling shining the light that all may practice in peace.

Lyman Smith, Captain, Chaplain Corps, United States Navy, Retired, Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies, presfedchap.org, info@presfedchap.org

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 11, 2022, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Today’s Focus: Remembering Sept. 11

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Anna Edlin, Systems & Delivery Support Officer, Trust Services, Presbyterian Foundation 
Marla Edwards, Mission Specialist, Vital Congregations, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray

God of peace and mercy, help us remember and help us learn. On this day, 21 years after the tragedy we know as 9/11, help us remember those who died; their families and loved ones; those who helped by seeking the living among the dead; those whose lives were changed in their response to the challenge; and in remembering may we be moved. May we be moved to serve you more fully and know that each day we have is a gift. May we be moved to better recognize each soul in your Creation is precious in your sight and is fully deserving of honor, acceptance and love. May we be moved to better our nation that we learn to seek good in the face of evil and truth over lies. Thank you, covenant Lord, for remembering us as you bless each new day with hope and promise. Amen.