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God, I remember that blue-skied Tuesday morning eighteen years ago when plumes of smoke stole the familiar skyline.

The landscape was forever changed in Manhattan, and the fabric of our souls forever altered. The hole created in the hearts at the Pentagon has never closed.  The fields amid Pennsylvania mountaintops permanently hold deep craters of grief.

For the friends who were near those spaces and whose minds are eternally etched with the scenes of September 11, I ask for prayers. For the strangers who ran from the buildings and who received calls about their loved ones, I pray for peace. For our first responders whose health has decayed from their service at Ground Zero, I ask for strength. For our nation who still holds this trauma close, we ask for comfort.

Forever we are changed. As we reflect today, may we discover ways to grow closer to your children across our communities, country, and world.

Amen.

*****
The Rev. Michelle L. Torigian is the Senior Pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Belleville, Illinois. Her essay “Always a Pastor, Never the Bride” was in the RevGalBlogPals book There’s a Woman in the Pulpit. She also has chapters in the books Sacred Habits: The Rise of the Creative Clergy and A Child Laughs: Prayers for Justice and Hope. Torigian blogs at http://www.michelletorigian.com.

*****
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