Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beginning our Worship on 9/11/11


This was the way in which Northlake began a time of worship that focused on the Gospel's unique message concerning the real brokenness of humanity and our one sure hope.  I am thankful to all who led us today in a Jesus-centered time of worship and learning.

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Today we worship.

Today is September 11th

Every radio station, every news outlet, every television station, every ball game (and blog) are all reminding of this.  And all, in their own way, are inviting us to reflect and respond.

But we gather here in worship.  We gather as those proclaiming the Gospel, the good news for humanity, is found in the Story of Jesus.

We gather as Americans, yes, but more than that we gather today as citizens of the Kingdom of God.

We gather under this cross to remember not just what that cross won for us, but the call it places upon our lives.

We gather to remember not just the event of the cross but the way of life that we are called to live that is shaped by it.

As we worship on this day we must remember our distinct story, our distinct voice, our distinct calling.

Because we serve the one who defeated evil by suffering under it, because we worship the one who prayed “father forgive them for they know not what they do” for those who had tortured him and hung him there, we must remember that – as Jesus followers:

We hurt differently  / We heal differently / We hope differently
And, we respond differently

One local theologian coined the phrase “prophetic imagination” to say that our vision for the world – in triumph and in tragedy – is radically different than the culture and the religious status quo.  Isaiah and Micah imagined a time when swords were beaten into plowshares, where instruments of death were made into tools for the cultivation of life.

So I invite you to enter into worship today seeking to lay hold of the Gospel and let us shape and reshape us into the radically “other” people that we are.

A Responsive Prayer of Healing and Hope for September 11, 2011

Leader: When memories of terror reawaken the past, and experiences of death, loss, and grief, then ...

People: In your sure hope, O God, bring healing to the world.

Leader: When anger and inflamed passion tempt us to respond with violence and seek revenge, then ...

People: In your sure hope, O God, bring healing to the world.

Leader: When we are enticed to give in to the illusion that war alone will resolve conflict between enemies, then ...

People: In your sure hope, O God, bring healing to the world.

Leader: When it feels like every menace, whether imagined or real, is a threat to our security, and fills us with fear, then ...

People: In your sure hope, O God, bring healing to the world.

Leader: When religion is used as an excuse to exclude, threaten, or destroy others, forgetting or ignoring all that unites us, then ...

People: In your sure hope, O God, bring healing to the world.

Leader: When we become stuck in the past, unable to respond to the challenges we face with vision and hope, then ...

People: In your sure hope, O God, bring healing to the world.

Leader: When we wrestle with how to create a better future for our children, even to the seventh generation, then ...

People: In your sure hope, O God, bring healing to the world.

Leader: When we struggle to find a new and peaceful way to live in the world, and forget that you, O God, are our help and salvation, then ...

People: In your sure hope, O God, bring healing to the world.

Leader: O God of all peoples, nations and creeds: you have created us and rejoiced in the goodness of creation, and have wept with us when have experienced death, loss and grief.

All: Send your healing presence into the world and endow all people, leaders, groups and nations with your vision of unity and peace; so that we and all people may move on from the wounds of the past and seek to live in harmony with one another; to the end that the goodness of your creation may be restored, enhanced and sustained for the common good of all.

Through mercies of your love and grace, and in your sure hope, O God, bring healing to the world. Amen!

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