Volume 13, Issue 4: Cave of Adullam
National Prayer Service
Order of Worship
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER AND REMEMBRANCE
Friday, 14 September 2001, Twelve o'clock noon.
"God of Our Fathers"
sung by United States Navy Sea Chanters "Grace"
sung by United States Navy Sea
Chanters "God Bless America"
performed by United States Army
Orchestra "Father, In Thy Gracious Keeping"
sung by Cathedral Choir
PRESENTATION OF COLOR
Joint Armed Forces Color Guard
The People stand during presentation of colors and remain standing for processional hymn.
"O God, Our Help in Ages Past"
Sung by Congregation
Said by the Right Reverend Jane Holmes Dixon, Bishop of Washington,
President Bush, all of you who have come here this day, we want you to know that we are grateful that you have called for this service, and that you have brought people to this cathedral church, where people of many faiths have gathered to say to this nation and to the world, that those who lost their lives, innocent lives, unspeakable tragedy and the violence that has been committed to this nation, that those us who are gathered here, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, all people of faith, want to say to this nation, and to the world, that love is stronger than hate, and that love lived out in justice will in the end, prevail. So we're grateful that you have come here this day, and we want you to know as you gather that this is
indeed a house of prayer for all people. So, we hope that you will let this be a container for your grief, and in addition to that, we want you to know that the light that burns here, the light of love, the light of justice, the light of hope, shines brighter than any light in the world. So, come often, pray to God here, and let us be united that we will make that message of love, the message that the world needs to hear in this time of great tragedy. President Bush has asked that later in this service there will be an offering, for those organizations and institutions that are reaching out to those lives that have been rent apart by this tragedy. So, I'm not ashamed to say to you today, be generous, in that, because there are many who will need our care in the days ahead. Thank you Mr. President, and welcome to all of you, to the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and Paul, the National Cathedral, and most importantly a house of prayer for all people.
Led by the Very Reverend Nathan D. Baxter, Dean of Washington National Cathedral.
When ancient Israel had suffered the excruciating pain and tragedy of militant aggression and
destruction, God said to them through the prophet Jeremiah:
A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and bitter weeping, Rachel is weeping for her
children; and she refuses to be comforted, because they are no more.
Today we gather to be reassured that God hears the "lamenting and bitter weeping" of Mother America, because so many of her children are no more. Let us now seek that assurance in prayer, for the healing of our grief-stricken hearts, for the souls and sacred memory of those who have died. Let us also pray for Divine wisdom as our leaders consider the necessary actions for national security, that despite our grief we may not become the evil we deplore. Let us pray,
God of Abraham and Mohammed and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ: we are today a people of
heavy and distraught hearts. The evil hand of hate and cowardly aggression, which has devastated the innocent in many other lands, has visited America this week and too many of her children are no more. But we know you are not the God of hate and cowardice, but of courage and justice. So we gather this day asking that you provide us healing as a nation. Heal our grief. Soothe our suffering hearts.Save us from blind vengeance, random prejudice and crippling fear.
Guide our leaders, especially George, our President. Let the deep faith that he and they share guide them in the momentous decisions they must make for our national security.
We thank you for the courage of flight crews and passengers in the face of certain death; the brave volunteers, police and emergency workers who labor tirelessly, even as we pray. We thank you for the outpouring of generosity by businesses, unions, agencies, spiritual communities and individual citizens. Your Spirit is at work. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, grant us peace for the facing of this hour. Amen.
The People sit after the invocation.
"America the Beautiful"
sung by Denyce Graves, accompanied by David Perry
Led by Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, Imam, Islamic Society of North America
In the Name of God, most gracious, most merciful. Lord, you said and your words are true: If any do seek for glory and power, to God belongs all glory and power. To him mount up all words of purity. He exalts all righteous deeds. But thosthat lay the plots of evil, for them is a terrible penalty; and the plotting of such will be not abide. (Holy Qu'ran Fatir 35:10)
Goodness and evil are not equal. Repel the evil with the good. Then will he between whom and you was hatred become as it were your friend and intimate. But no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune. (Holy Qu'ran Fussilat 41:34_35)
We turn to you, our Lord, at this time of pain and grief in our nation. We see the evil of destruction and the suffering of the many of our people before our eyes. With broken and humble hearts and with tears in our eyes, we turn to You, O Lord, to give us comfort. Help us in our distress, keep us together as people of diverse faiths, colors and races, keep our country strong for the sake of good and righteousness, protect us from all evil.
Lamentations 3:22_26, 31_33 read by Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, Rabbi Emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation
ANTHEM PSALM 23
Sung by the Cathedral Boy and Girl Choristers
2 Corinthians 4:16 5:9 read by Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist
"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," verses 1, 3_4
sung by the Congregation
Matthew 5:2_12a read by His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington
The Rev. Dr. Billy Graham
President and Mrs. Bush, I want to say a personal word on behalf of many people.
Thank you, Mr. President, for calling this Day of Prayer and Remembrance. We needed it.
We come together today to affirm our conviction that God cares for us, whatever our ethnic, religious or political background may be.
The Bible says that He's "the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles." No matter how hard we try words simply cannot express the horror, the shock, and the revulsion we all feel over what took place in this nation on Tuesday morning. September 11 will go down in our history as a day to remember.
Today we say to those who masterminded this cruel plot, and to those who carried it out, that the spirit of this nation will not be defeated by their twisted and diabolical schemes. Some day those responsible will be brought to justice, as President Bush and our Congress have so forcefully stated.
But today, we especially come together in this service to confess our need of God. We've always needed God from the very beginning of this nation, but today we need Him especially. We're facing a new kind of enemy. We're involved in a new kind of warfare and we need the help of the Spirit of God. The Bible's words are our hope: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the
mountains fall into the heart of the sea" (Psalm 46:1,2, NIV).
But how do we understand something like this? Why does God allow evil like this to take place? Perhaps that is what you are asking now. You may even be angry at God. I want to assure you that God understands these feelings that you may have. We've seen so much on our television, heard on our radio, stories that bring tears to our eyes and make us all feel a sense of anger. But God can be trusted, even when life seems at its darkest. But what are some of the lessons we can learn?
First, we are reminded of the mystery and reality of evil. I have been asked hundreds of times in my life why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I really do not know the answer totally, even to my own satisfaction. I have to accept, by faith, that God is sovereign, and He's a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering.
The Bible says that God is not the author of evil. It speaks of evil as a "mystery." In 2 Thessalonians 2:7 it talks about the mystery of iniquity. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" He asked that question, "Who can understand it?" And that's one reason we each need God in our lives.
The lesson of this event is not only about the mystery of iniquity and evil, but secondly, it's a lesson about our need for each other. What an example New York and Washington have been to the world these past few days! None of us will ever forget the pictures of our courageous firefighters and police, many of whom have lost friends and colleagues, or the hundreds of people attending or standing patiently in line to donate blood. A tragedy like this could have torn our country apart, but instead it has united us and we've become a family. So those perpetrators who took this on to tear us apart, it has worked the other way. It's backlashed, it's backfired. We are more united than ever before. I think this was exemplified in a very moving way when the members of our Congress stood shoulder to shoulder the other day and sang, "God Bless America."
Finally, difficult as it may be for us to see right nowthis event can give a message of hopehope for the present, and hope for the future. Yes, there is hope. There's hope for the present because I believe the stage has already been set for a new spirit in our nation.
One of the things we desperately need is a spiritual renewal in this country. We need a spiritual revival in America. And God has told us in His Word, time after time, that we are to repent of our sins and we're to turn to Him and He will bless us in a new way.
But, there is also hope for the future because of God's promises. As a Christian, I have hope, not just for this life, but for heaven and the life to come. And many of those people who died this past week are in heaven right now, and they wouldn't want to come back. It's so glorious and so wonderful. And that's the hope for all of us who put our faith in God. I pray that you will have this hope in your heart.
This event reminds us of the brevity and the uncertainty of life. We never know when we too will be called into eternity. I doubt if even one of those people who got on those planes, or walked into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon last Tuesday morning thought it would be the last day of their lives. It didn't occur to them. And that's why each of us needs to face our own spiritual need and commit ourselves to God and His will now.
Here in this majestic National Cathedral we see all around us symbols of the Cross. For the Christian, I'm speaking for the Christian now, the Cross tells us that God understands our sin and our suffering, for He took upon Himself in the person of Jesus Christ our sins and our suffering. And from the Cross, God declares, "I love you. I know the heartaches and the sorrows and the pains that you feel. But I love you."
The story does not end with the Cross, for Easter points us beyond the tragedy of the Cross to the empty tomb. It tells us that there is hope for eternal life, for Christ has conquered evil and death, and hell. Yes, there is hope.
I've become an old man now and I've preached all over the world and the older I get the more I cling to that hope that I started with many years ago and proclaimed it in many languages to many parts of the world.
Several years ago at the National Prayer Breakfast here in Washington, Ambassador Andrew Young (who had just gone through the tragic death of his wife), closed his talk with a quote from the old hymn, "How Firm a Foundation." We all watched in horror as planes crashed into the steel and glass of the World Trade Center. Those majestic towers, built on solid foundations, were examples of the prosperity and creativity of America. When damaged, those buildings eventually plummeted to the ground, imploding in upon themselves. Yet, underneath the debris, is a foundation that was not destroyed. Therein lies the truth of that old hymn that Andrew Young quoted, "How Firm a Foundation." Yes, our nation has been attacked, buildings destroyed, lives lost. But now we have a choice: whether to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nationor, whether we choose to become stronger through all of this struggleto rebuild on a solid foundation. And I believe that we are in the process of starting to rebuild on that foundation. That foundation is our trust in God. That's what this service is all about and in that faith we have the strength to endure something as difficult and horrendous as what we have experienced this week.
This has been a terrible week with many tears but also has been a week of great faith. Churches all across the country have called prayer meetings and today is a day that they are celebrating not only in this country but in many parts of the world. And in the words of that familiar hymn that Andrew Young quotedit says:
Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed, For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent and.
My prayer today is that we will feel the loving arms
of God wrapped around us, and will know in our hearts that He will never forsake us as we trust in Him. We also know that God is going to give wisdom and courage and strength to the President and those around him. And this is going to be a day that we will remember as a day of victory.
May God bless you all.
"The Lord's Prayer"
Sung by Denyce Graves, accompanied by Dr. Douglas Major, Cathedral Organist
PRAYER FOR LEADERSHIP
Psalm 27:1_3, 13_14 led by Rev. Caldwell
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
"Battle Hymn of the Republic"
Sung by the Congregation
Led by Dean Baxter
O God, whose days are without end and whose mercies cannot be numbered, grant to us and to all who are bereaved the spirit of faith and courage, that we may have strength to meet the days to come with steadfastness and patience; not sorrowing as those without hope, but in thankful remembrance of your great goodness, and in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those we love; in your most holy name we pray.
BLESSING & DISMISSAL
Led by Bishop Dixon
Go forth now, into the world in Peace; Be of good courage; Hold fast to that which is good, Render to no one evil for evil; Strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; Help the afflicted; honor everyone;
Love and serve the Lord. And the blessing of God Almighty, the God who created us, the God who liberates us, and the God who stays with us throughout eternity be with you this day and forever more. Amen.
RETIREMENT OF COLORS
The ministers depart in recession during the tolling of the Bourdon Bell. The people remain standing until the President has departed the Cathedral.
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