Home Equipping Leaders CONTENT LIBRARY Great Thanksgiving: Remembrance/Anniversary of 9/11

Great Thanksgiving: Remembrance/Anniversary of 9/11

This prayer was submitted by Heather Josselyn-Cranson, who -- in 2002 -- was a graduate student at Boston University School of Theology, Boston, Massachusetts. She wrote it for use at the seminary chapel service on September 11, 2002.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up you hearts. We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and hopeful thing,
in all places and circumstances
to give thanks to you, Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
You formed your children in your image and loved them all:
Ishmael and Isaac,
Esau and Jacob,
Leah and Rachel.
When animosity arose between them
and they failed to love each other,
you lamented to see them struggle against one another,
as you mourn the hatred and fighting
that we, their descendants, continue.
Yet through your prophets you promised a day of peace
for all people, when swords would become plowshares
and the lion lie down with the lamb.
Therefore, in repentance and hope,
together with your people on earth and all the company of heaven,
we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, and blessed is your son Jesus Christ.
Although his very birth was attended by violence against innocent children,
your Spirit anointed him to guide our feet into the path of peace
and to bless the poor, the mourners,
the meek, the hungry,
the merciful, the pure,
and the peacemakers.
He healed the sick,
summoned sinners to his calling,
and taught your people to love their enemies
and to refrain from judging.
By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection,
you gave birth to your church,
delivered us from slavery to sin and death,
and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.
When the Lord Jesus ascended, he left us his peace,
given not as the world gives,
and he promised to be with us always,
in the power of the Holy Spirit.

On the night in which he gave himself up for us,
he took bread, gave thanks to you,
broke the bread, gave it to his disciples,
and said, "Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."

When the supper was over he took the cup,
gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said,
"Drink from this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice,
in union with Christ's offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here,
and on these gifts of bread and wine.
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,
that we may be for the world the body of Christ,
redeemed by his blood.

By your Spirit,
make us one in Christ and one in love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
and self-control,
until Christ comes in final victory
and we feast at his heavenly banquet.
Through your Son Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit in your Holy Church,
all honor and glory are yours, almighty Father, now and forever.

Commentary: The Center for Worship Resourcing staff noted that God mourning and lamenting the familial strife among the offspring of Sarah and Abraham can clearly be attributed to New Testament interpretation, but they questioned whether it could be found in the narrative. Heather responded as follows:

"I was actually thinking, not of the New Testament, but of Jeremiah. Our Hebrew Bible professor (Kathe Darr) told us several times that Jeremiah puts a lament in God's mouth at the plight of God's people. Looking back at that book now, I see God mourns Israel's unfaithfulness. I had generalized it in my mind to mean God lamenting all sinful or unfaithful behavior on the part of God's people. I do feel that God's actions in the Genesis narratives betray sorrow at the hurt of each of the people I named in the prayer. Certainly God saves Ishmael's life when Isaac''s mother would just as soon see him die. And God pities Leah's unloved situation, and so gives her children. I feel more cautious in the case of Esau (the whole 'Jacob have I loved' bit), but even there. . . . Does God not move in Esau's heart to help him forgive Jacob? You are right that I have not borrowed the 'lamenting' language directly from the periscopes I cite in the prayer. But it is not New Testament language specifically, and I think it is not too far from the scriptural text.

Parts of the prayer are drawn from Isaiah 2, the Song of Zechariah, the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, the gifts of the Spirit list in Galatians 5, and John 14."

Copyright © 2002 Heather Josselyn-Cranson. Used with permission.

Adapted from "A Service of Word and Table I" Copyright © 1972, 1980, 1985, 1989, The United Methodist Publishing House. Used with permission.

The Center for Worship Resourcing is grateful to the Rev. Heather Josselyn-Cranson for submitting this resource to us for use on the Worship website. Congregations and other church bodies are welcome to copy and use this Great Thanksgiving for a one-time, non-profit worship or educational purpose as long as they include the following copyright notice:

Copyright © 2002 Heather Josselyn-Cranson. Used with permission. Adapted from "A Service of Word and Table I" Copyright © 1972, 1980, 1985, 1989. The United Methodist Publishing House. Used with permission.

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