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    Wednesday, September 11, 2002

    In Remembrance: This isn’t even remotely about medicine. It’s just some thoughts on September 11. Last Sunday, our church had the American flag at the altar. The last time the flag stood there was the Sunday immediately after 9/11. That first Sunday, the church was filled to such a capacity as is usually only seen on Christmas Eve. We all sat there, waiting for words of comfort. What we heard was a homily that emphasized the importance of peace and of turning the other cheek. Then, at the end of the service, after the recession had ended and the last chord of the last hymn sounded, the pianist broke out into a spontaneous rendition of “God Bless America.” Everyone started singing. Even people who were on their way out the door turned around and returned to the pews to sing the entire song. Our priest might not have had the appropriate response, but the rest of us did.

    This year, we have a different priest, and this year we got the homily we should have had last year. It was based on the verse from Matthew, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The priest reminded us that God never promised us a world without pain and suffering. We don’t live in paradise, after all. He only promised to be with us always, our comfort and our hope - our comfort and our hope that there’s a better world in the life to come. That “life to come” doesn’t necessarily have to be the afterlife. It can mean the life to come in this world, too. Maybe, in the grander scheme of things, the events of 9/11 and whatever wars they spawn, are a movement towards that better life - toward the elimination of despotism and tyranny, and toward a universal recognition of the rights of man. You don’t have to believe in God to find hope and comfort in that idea. I’ll leave you, as a final homage to 9/11, with the words of a an old Shaker hymn that expresses it far better than I ever could:

    My life flows on in endless song
    Above earth's lamentations,
    I hear the real, though far-off hymn
    That hails a new creation.

    Through all the tumult and the strife
    I hear it's music ringing,
    It sounds an echo in my soul.
    How can I keep from singing?

    While though the tempest loudly roars,
    I hear the truth, it liveth.
    And though the darkness 'round me close,
    Songs in the night it giveth.

    No storm can shake my inmost calm,
    While to that rock I'm clinging.
    Since love is lord of heaven and earth
    How can I keep from singing?

    When tyrants tremble sick with fear
    And hear their death knell ringing,
    When friends rejoice both far and near
    How can I keep from singing?

    posted by Sydney on 9/11/2002 06:04:00 AM 0 comments


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