posted September 10, 2011
by Raymond Dague
A week or so before the 10th year remembrance of that fateful attack on America on 9/11/2001 Frank T. Griswold, the former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, issued a prayer for churches to use on the Sunday of 9/11/2011 as they recall that awful day a decade ago. The prayer is styled as a collect. A collect is short prayer to focus the thoughts of a congregation on God and his attributes, on a petition to him, and on an anticipated result of the prayer. His prayer is as follows:
God the compassionate one, whose loving care extends to all the world, we remember this day your children of many nations and many faiths whose lives were cut short by the fierce flames of anger and hatred. Console those who continue to suffer and grieve, and give them comfort and hope as they look to the future. Out of what we have endured, give us the grace to examine our relationships with those who perceive us as the enemy, and show our leaders the way to use our power to serve the good of all for the healing of the nations. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord who, in reconciling love, was lifted up from the earth that he might draw all things to himself. Amen.
What an odd prayer this is! It begins with the words “God the compassionate” which is an address to God found at the beginning of almost all of the chapters of the Koran, but not found once in the Bible. And the prayer is still more peculiar when it reads “give us the grace to examine our relationships with those who perceive us as the enemy.” Hmm! So we should, according to this prayer, rethink our relationships with those radical Islamic jihadistic terrorists who tried to kill us on that day, and who in the ensuing years have continued to try to kill us and destroy that which we hold dear.
It is difficult to even comment on such ludicrous words. Episcopal bishops have long exhibited a self-loathing for America and its actions. They generally side with the Palestinians as against Israel, and have ironically embraced the same type of dislike for traditional American values as have those who crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11, albeit, not the advocacy of violence against our way of life exhibited by the terrorists. But his prayer with these sentiments is nothing short of astounding in its contempt for the nation and its people who seek to find solace and healing on this day of national remembrance. It is an insult to the memories of those who died, and a disgrace that it came from the pen of a Christian clergyman.
It is not clear how much traction this odd prayer has gotten. It may be only the obscure utterance of a liberal churchman. It is likely to be used (if at all) only in the left wing circles of dying mainline Protestant denominations. But least one Episcopal Bishop, Gladstone “Skip” Adams, III of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, promoted it to his parishes in the days before the 9/11 ten year remembrance. This is the same bishop who evicted one of his former parishes in Binghamton, New York and sold their building to a Muslim group to be used as a mosque.
There are other peculiarities in this prayer, but it does no good to dwell on them. Rather this prayer (sic) should be quickly discarded with not another thought. For anyone looking to find a prayer appropriate for 9/11, perhaps this will suffice:
Lord God, you have established this nation as a city on a hill to serve you and be a banner of freedom to all of the nations of the world. Now in this time when we recall the loss we have suffered at the hands of evil doers, keep this nation strong in the values of freedom, discipline, and individual virtue which have made us great, but help us to do so in the humility of knowing you as our creator, sustainer, and redeemer. Protect us from the violence done to us on account of the values which we hold dear, and help us to be a light to the nations so that all who look to us may see not us, but rather a humble service to you as our Lord and Savior. This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
This may not be a perfect prayer, but it sure is a vast improvement on Bishop Griswold’s attempt to commemorate 9/11 in the churches of America. image