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A Litany of Ashes & Stones
In Memory of the Dead of 9/11/01 & All Victims of Terrorism and War

For vibrant lives suddenly and shamelessly sacrificed,
we lift up the ashes of our loss, O God.

For the lives that continue, haunted forever by the pain of absence,
we lift up the ashes of our remorse, O God.

For the conflagration of flames and nightmare images forever seared into our memories,
we lift up the ashes of our pain, O God.

For the charred visions of peace and the dry taste of fear,
we lift up the ashes of our grief, O God.

For all that has been destroyed in the fire of anger,
we lift up the ashes of our disillusionment, O God.

For all the deaths that have been justified with the arrogance of patriotism and fanaticism of ideology, we lift up the ashes of our shame, O God.

As we cast these ashes into the troubled water of our times, Transforming One, hear our plea that by Your power they will make fertile the soil of our future and by Your mercy nourish the seeds of peace.

[The people cast the ashes in silence into the some body/basin of water]

For the ways humanity pursues violence rather than understanding,
we lift up the stones of our anger, O God.

For the ways we allow national, religious and ethnic boundaries to circumscribe our compassion, we lift up the stones of our hardness, O God.

For our addiction to weapons and the ways of militarism,
we lift up the stones of our fear, O God.

For the ways we cast blame and create enemies,
we lift up the stones of our self-righteousness, O God.

As we cast these stones into this troubled water of our time, Transforming One, hear our plea that just as water wears away the hardest of stones, so too may the power of Your compassion soften the hardness of our hearts and draw us into a future of justice and peace. 

[The people cast the stones in silence into some body/basin of water]

By Rev. Patricia Pierce, pastor of Tabernacle Church, Philadelphia, PA; 9/11/03