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Preaching on 9/11/11

Exodus 14:19–31

For more commentary on this week's readings, see the Reflections on the Lectionary page, which includes Wardlaw's current Living by the Word column as well as past magazine and blog content. For full-text access to all articles, subscribe to the Century.

Of the texts appointed for Sunday, the tenth anniversary of what we now simply call 9/11, the Old Testament reading seems most capable of responding to the range of emotions we may feel as we remember the atrocities of that day.

Many memorials will be observed on this day, and many resources for addressing the anniversary will be made available to us. One piece that I would commend to your attention is Roger Cohen's op-ed from the July 3 New York Times. Cohen recalls a few lines written by E. B. White in 1948, lines that now seem downright prophetic:

A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.

Cohen goes on to reflect on what has happened in that city's psyche over these last ten years, and concludes: "New York has one again. It has come back. America has not." Good grist for the homiletic mill.

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