Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Thinks Too Big for Me to Think

This Monday marks the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attack. Profound events like this often leave me feeling very much at a loss for words. I want to say something that means something, but I find the reservoir of thought echoing like an empty water tank. Maybe it’s because I’ve not taken the time to fill it through quiet meditation. At times like this I begin to think my thinker can’t think big enough.

I have always struggled with the reality that there are indeed some evil people in the world who delight in the massacre of others for what they deem “righteous” causes. Lest we Christians think too highly of ourselves, we must remember that some who have claimed to belong to Christ have also done this. I have read quotes from practicing Muslims who say that the “infidels are worthy only of death” attitude fueling the terrorism is far from the true faith of Islam. (“infidel” is interpreted – at least by the Muslim terrorists – as any non-Muslim.) There are others – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – who say that there is no other way to interpret certain passages of the Koran. I don’t know enough to offer an opinion.

What I do know is that there are pastors and worship leaders all over the United States this week wrestling with how to appropriately acknowledge the 9/11 event in our worship this week. There are ways to overdo it and ways to underdo it; and it’s a struggle to find the appropriate balance, keeping our focus on God. In the weeks and months following the attack, several of our contemporary hymn writers put pen to paper, allowing their God-given talents to help those of us less gifted in that area to give expression to what we may be thinking and feeling. One such writer is Carolyn Winfrey Gillette who wrote this:

God, we’ve known such grief and anger
As we’ve heard Your people cry.
We have asked You, “How much longer?”
We have sadly wondered why.
In this world of so much suffering,
May we hear Your word anew:
“I will never leave You orphaned;
I will not abandon you.”

By Your grace comes resurrection;
By Your love, You cast out fear.
You give strength and sure direction
As we seek to serve You here.
You give comfort to the grieving,
And You bless the ones who mourn.
May we trust in You, believing
Out of chaos, hope is born.

Hope is ours for, God, You love us!
You have claimed us by Your grace.
And through Jesus, You have called us
To bring hope to every place.
In each rescue worker’s caring,
In each faithful volunteer,
In each Christian’s love and sharing,
God, we glimpse Your kingdom here.

(found at

Thank God for gifted writers! In that hymn I find tremendous balance. We acknowledge that we are still hurt and confused. We still struggle with what to think, feel, and do as individuals, as communities of faith, and as a nation. Sharing a hymn like that helps us to find purpose and direction anchored by our hope in Christ.

That’s enough to think about for now.


Blogger JATB said...

We sang that hymn at the one-year anniversary of 9/11, to the wonderful American tune BEACH SPRING.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Morris said...

That's the tune I would use.

11:22 PM  

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