Christ United Presbyterian Church
Remembering Sept. 11, praying for peace
This year we will observe the tenth anniversary of the events of Sept. 11, 2011-when terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. killed thousands and precipitated a "War on Terror" that has now spanned a decade and circled the globe. As it happens, this 10th anniversary falls on a Sunday. The city of Marshall will dedicate Memorial Park on that morning as well as hold other memorial events. How might we as Christians mark this tragic event and seek the peace of Christ in the world?
My denomination provided an 11 day devotional series based Romans 12:9-21. I believe it offers an excellent resource for reflection and a profound opportunity for prayer as we approach this significant anniversary. This passage from Paul's letter to the church at Rome sets forth the parameters for Christian life in a time of fear and violence, hatred and persecution. It also offers a compelling model for faithful Christian witness and response in our own day-a time no less filled with conflict, anxiety, and suspicion among neighbors and nations.
Thursday, Sept. 1
SCRIPTURE "Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good." (Romans 12:9) As an act of prayer, perhaps you might read today's newspaper (online or in print) or watch or listen to a broadcast of the news. While you are doing this, make a list with three columns: (1) things that are good (worth holding fast), (2) things that are evil, and (3) examples of genuine love.
Friday, Sept. 2
SCRIPTURE "Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor."(Romans 12:10). How do you show honor to another person-particularly a person who holds different values and beliefs, or with whom you may disagree? As an act of prayer, go out of your way to show honor to someone who may be despised or unloved, or with whom you have strong differences of opinion or belief.
Saturday, Sept. 3
SCRIPTURE Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. (Romans 12:11-12). Think of a time when prayer helped you to persevere and have patience through suffering, conflict, or anxiety. How did prayer make a difference?
Sunday, Sept. 4
SCRIPTURE Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (Romans 12:13-14)
What might it mean to "bless those who persecute you"? Seek out an opportunity to show hospitality or welcome to a stranger-particularly someone from another culture or country.
Monday, Sept. 5
SCRIPTURE Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)
Offer prayers for those who risked or gave their lives to rescue others on Sept. 11, 2001; for those who have served their country in subsequent conflicts; for those who work for peace in the world.
Tuesday, Sept. 6
SCRIPTURE Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. (Romans 12:16) What does it mean to "live in harmony"? Who are "the lowly" in our community, or in the larger world? How might we fulfill the instruction to live in harmony and associate with the lowly?
Wednesday, Sept. 7
SCRIPTURE Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. (Romans 12:17) Be aware of an opportunity to resist the temptation to "repay evil for evil," or counsel someone else to do the same. Look for an opportunity to lift up, celebrate, and give thanks for something that is "noble in the sight of all."
Thursday, Sept. 8
SCRIPTURE If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18) What actions might you take to promote peace and reconciliation in your community or in the larger world?
Friday, Sept. 9
SCRIPTURE Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." (Romans 12:19) Think of a time when you have tried (or wanted to) to "get even" for a wrong that was done to you. Or think of a time when someone sought to get even with you because of a wrong you had done. Pray for God's forgiveness and the grace to forgive. If possible, seek out reconciliation with that person.
Saturday, Sept. 10
SCRIPTURE If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads. (Romans 12:20) Think of someone with whom you have unresolved conflict. Make plans to extend some gesture of kindness and reconciliation.
Sunday, Sept. 11
SCRIPTURE Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
In some small way, try to respond to something evil with an act of goodness, generosity, and genuine love. Let this be a practice that takes root in your life, not only this day, but every day!
The complete devotional in printed form is available at Christ United Presbyterian Church across from the Wells Fargo drive-thru. May we listen attentively to God's Word as we remember Sept. 11 and seek to follow in God's way in all the days to come.