When Sudden Terror Tears Apart

The Episcopal priest and hymn writer the Rev. Carl P. Daw Jr.  provided this hymn of lament seeking comfort just days after the national tragedy of September 11th:

When sudden terror tears apart the world we thought was ours,
we find how fragile strength can be, how limited our powers.

As tower and fortress fall, we watch with disbelieving stare
and numbly hear the anguished cries that pierce the ash-filled air.

Yet most of all we are aware of emptiness and void:
of lives cut short, of structures razed, of confidence destroyed.

From this abyss of doubt and fear we grope for words to pray,
and hear our stammering tongues embrace a timeless Kyrie.

Have mercy, Lord, give strength and peace, and make our courage great;
restrain our urge to seek revenge, to turn our hurt to hate.

Help us to know your steadfast love, your presence near as breath;
rekindle in our hearts the hope of life that conquers death.

Many this day are reflecting where they were individually as we relive the terror, disbelief and grief of that shared experience.  Many have filed the hursts and nagging questions away and many are still trying, searching and longing to find peace and comfort.

Today is a day of rememberance and listening.  In the midst of all of our individual stories, we have a shared story.  In the midst of all of our individual places of lament and comfort, we pause and share in the unknown place we are at as a country and people. 

There are no easy ways to “fix” or heal what has happened both as individuals and as a nation.  But there still is a God of mercy and love with ears to hear our cries and arms to comfort our anxieties and grieving hearts.  Kyrie eleison.  Christe eleison.  Kyrie eleison.  Lord have mercy.  Christ have mercy.  Lord have mercy.


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