Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 Remarks

I made the following remarks at the Islamic Society of the Washington Area for their 9/11 commemoration event. Thanks to the 30 or so CCCers who attended!

Imam Khan and members of the Islamic Society of the Washington Area, Honored Guests, and fellow citizens, on behalf of the members and friends of Christ Congregational Church United Church of Christ in Silver Spring, I thank you for the invitation to be with you here today. I appreciate the invitation and hospitality shown to each of us. I bring greetings and prayers for peace from the members and friends of Christ Congregational Church. Our church endeavors to be a faith community that embodies God’s love for all people by laboring for the progress of knowledge, the promotion of justice, and the reign of peace.

This is a big calling, especially in the 10 years since September 11th 2001. On 9/11 we saw the shadows of darkness fall upon us as we woke up to that achingly beautiful morning sun. I do not think the darkness has dissipated. The human race has witnessed this darkness before -- long before 9/11. We will undoubtedly see it again. I’m talking about the human-made horror that devour us when we forget how to demonstrate mutual forbearance, and tolerance. It’s the darkness that descends when we disregard one another as fellow human beings. We see it when people use hatred to create victims; when people think that religion-incited violence can bring about peace. We struggled to find the light in the days following September 11th. But in our darkness, we found moments of light ... light in the times we connected with each other, light in the moments when we cared for each other, light in the times when we discovered humanity within the smoky destruction. The human race has seen the light of hope before, and we will undoubtedly see it again. We partner with God and with one another to shine the light we were given each and every day.

Today, I call my faith community to a sense of public and national unity that we have yet to fully experience as a country: A national unity that is not defined by fear but by faith; a national unity that refuses to dehumanize another; a national unity that seeks to be understand and accept others, to stand with the poor and the outcast and to forgive those who've wronged us; a national unity that resists the violence of the nations by promoting peace. Let us not be afraid to defend the oppressed and the powerless, because of the anger and might of the powerful. More than ever, we need love for one another, and hope for one another, and faith in one another. Let's dedicate our lives to claiming and acting upon our good hope as Americans: That when all our work seems useless, new hope blooms. That in the midst of brokenness, healing stirs. That in the midst of darkness, light shines. That in the midst of death, new life abounds. Thank you.

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