Words of Challenge and Hope:
Sermons on the Terrorist Attacks

Beliefnet contributors and other clergy share sermons representing a variety of themes delivered in the days following the attacks.


    Wake-Up Call
    By Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastor of Potter's House Church,
    Dallas, Texas
    "Right now God has brought this country to its knees. But let whosoever shall rise against this nation understand that we have not dropped to our knees because we are defeated, but we have dropped to our knees because we are armed and dangerous and ready to fight the good fight of faith."

    Three Ways to Respond to the Terror
    By the Rev. William McD. Tully, rector of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, New York City
    "What shall we, what can we, do? If remembrance, if love of country, if all the force of the world's richest and most powerful nation is not enough, then what? A wise person once said that Christianity is good news, not good advice. So I presume to give you no advice, but to suggest that there are three places where we can begin our next steps."

    Our Only Hope: Balancing Justice and Mercy
    By the Rev. Forrest Church, All Souls Unitarian Church,
    New York City
    "If before we could seemingly afford the luxury of relegating our spiritual lives to the occasional Sunday, today, facing a transfigured future, we must redirect our energies and spirits. In times like these, measured against the preparation of our souls, all lesser priorities lose their urgency."

    We Must Change the Way the World Sees America
    Fr. Ted Stylianopoulos of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
    "Those who committed the inexcusable acts of terror against America looked at our government's policies in the world and did not see expressions of justice and friendship. Whether they were right or wrong certainly is debatable, but the point remains. What can our country do to change that perception?"

    Rediscovering Faith Under the Rubble
    By Malcolm Ellis, Rector, Messiah Episcopal Church of
    St. Paul, MN
    "When all the rubble in our lives is removed, what is it that will remain steadfast?"

    Learning to Trust Again
    By Dr. Susanne Freeborn, Emerson Center for Spiritual Awakening, Redwood City California
    "In our current national crisis there is so much to learn, but we have to turn from thinking first of the past, we have to turn away from our fears, we have to consider each and every thing we encounter newly if we are to find the wisdom in this current situation."


    'Don't Tell Me We Shouldn't Blame God'
    By Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, California
    "We must be careful. It is our job to defend this country, and keep it worth defending. The aim of this war is to fight them without becoming them."

    Vengeance Is the Lord's
    By the Rev. Mary Lynn Tobin, Davis Community Church, Davis, California
    "There is something inside me that wants to 'bomb the hell out of them' as well. I want revenge. But Paul, in another time and place suffering unfair persecution, says 'Do not repay anyone evil for evil.' I know this makes you mad. It's the gospel. And the gospel makes us all mad."

    We Are Called Not to Hate
    By the Rev. Don Niederfrank, St. Paul's UCC, Colgate WI
    "Does this mean we abandon justice? No. But our first priority is our relationship with God and our neighbor."

    The Worst Kind of Reality TV
    By the Rev. Davidson Loehr, minister of the First UU Church of Austin, Texas
    "Real reality is about people who know in the depths of their heart that no one is an island, and that the deaths of others diminish and frighten us all."

    The World's Religious Vacuum
    By Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
    "The greatness of every nation will always rely upon the word of God, and from the capacity of the nation, leaders and people, to listen to it and to be faithful to it. The nearer to God, to his greatness, the nearer to the true greatness in this world."


    The Mystery of Evil
    By Billy Graham
    "I have been asked hundreds of times in my life why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I really do not know the answer. I have to accept, by faith, that God is a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering. The Bible says God is not the author of evil."

    Eradicating the 'Seeds of Enmity'
    By Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. of Fordham University Church
    "Our true battle, as Paul wrote to the Ephesians, is not against flesh and blood but against 'the spiritual hosts of wickedness.' The true enemy is not some other earthly power, but a malignancy that may well be found at home as well as abroad, in our own culture and even in our own hearts."


    We Need an Easter in September
    By Max Lucado
    "Lord, do again what you did at Calvary. What we saw here last Tuesday, you saw there that Friday. Innocence slaughtered. Goodness murdered. Mothers weeping. Evil dancing. Just as the ash fell on our children, the darkness fell on your Son. Just as our towers were shattered, the very Tower of Eternity was pierced."

    Human Life Is All Too Fragile
    By the Rev. Lloyd Prator, rector of St. John's in the Village, an Episcopal parish church in Greenwich Village, New York City
    "God's promise to us is the mystery to which we must cling as we stand at the edge, at the abyss, looking into the dark."

    To Mourn, Reflect, Hope
    By the Dr. Arthur Caliandro, senior minister of Marble Collegiate Church, New York City.
    "God is. God has been. God will be. Nobody can destroy the city when God is in the midst of it. We depend on the presence of almighty God. We believe in it and have faith in it. It is an unchangeable, immovable presence."

    Twin Towers of Smoke
    By Rabbi Barry Freundel of Kesher Israel Congregation, Washington, D.C. (Joseph Lieberman's synagogue)
    "In the Bible, we are presented with twin towers of smoke. There is the tower of Yoel with its fire, its blood, its destruction. And then there is the tower of smoke that is a tower of justice, a tower of Jewish values, a tower of Torah. It is that second tower that will eventually dissipate the first and bring us what we seek so desperately this week."

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