Remembrance and Encouragement
Lord God, our heavenly Father, we come before You this evening and implore both Your presence and Your blessing as we remember the events of 9/11 one year ago. Comfort those, O Lord, who on this day lost loved ones and encourage us all with a message of grace, mercy, and hope. May the promises of Your word lessen the pain we feel and instill within our hearts the courage necessary to face with faithfulness the challenges of each new day. In Jesus’ saving name we pray. Amen.
Introduction—Invocation: We knew what fear was, but a year ago we experienced it in a new way. We knew what destruction was, but we stared in disbelief to watch scenes that our minds could scarcely comprehend, but our eyes kept saying were true. Today, we remember. We remember with sadness those who lost their lives. We remember with appreciation and admiration those who sacrificed themselves for others. We remember human frailty and the passing nature of everything on this earth. What was once tall and strong is no more. What was once an assumed security has been replaced with recognized vulnerability. The solution to such things will never be found on the earth, but is given by the Triune God. He alone is able to protect and He alone gives the forgiveness of sins and the promise of life eternal. As the images of 9/11 once again pass before our eyes, the Lord of all speaks these words to your hearts: "Be still, and know that I am God…. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge" (Ps. 46:1-2,10-11; "A Word of Truth" written by Pastor W.C. Eichstadt). May the Spirit of our Savior God be with us and bless us this evening as we worship in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Call to Repentance: There has been much said on this anniversary of heroic deeds—the sacrifices made by men and women on behalf of fellow human beings. It is only proper that we acknowledge these actions and be thankful for them. However, let us not forget that the tragedies of 9/11 occurred because men failed to love their fellowmen, and in so doing they sinned grievously against God. The LORD God once said through the prophet Isaiah, "On this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word" (Is. 66:2). Let us join together in confession our sins.
Confession of Sins: O God, we must confess with Jeremiah of old, that it is through Your mercies that we are not consumed. We have sinned against You, O Lord, and against Your holy law. All too often our thoughts are impure, our words unkind, and our actions unloving. Even when we fulfill Your will, our motives are often selfish. Forgive us, Lord, and cleanse us of our sins. Fill our hearts with Your love and move us to walk in love and with faithfulness, so that we might enjoy Your blessings here and rejoice in Your presence eternally.
Announcement of Grace: God, Your heavenly Father, has heard your confession, and by His grace and through the redemption of Jesus Christ, has forgiven you your sins. He has placed them as far from you as the east is from the west. Rejoice now in His blessing and calling upon His strength, live your lives in accordance with His will and to the praise on His glory. Amen.