Reflections: September 11, 2021

Saturday of the 14th Week after Trinity

By James Leistico

Today's Reading: Introit for the 15th Sunday after Trinity
(Psalm 86:4, 6, 15a, 16; antiphon: vs.1a, 2b, 3)
Daily Lectionary:
2 Chronicles 29:1-24; Philippians 3:1-21

Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. (Psalm 86:6)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. As the internet or TV might have already reminded you, today is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. When these horrific events happened, I had only been a pastor for 2 months. I clearly remember waking up to the terrible news and thinking, "The seminary never prepared me for this!" Not that I was angry with my professors--no one expected that attack. (The military never thought an airstrike could come from inside US borders, so the fighter jets went unarmed to intercept the terrorist-controlled planes. They had no time for weapons to be loaded.)

Thankfully, God granted comfort for my anxious thoughts. Eventually I realized that though He had never used my professors to address the specifics of the unimaginable terror of 9/11, the Lord had worked through them so I would be ready to serve as pastor in the days and weeks that followed. Just as they had taught me, I prayed while I searched the Scriptures to find words of comfort for God's people who were overwhelmed by grief.

Psalm 86 could certainly have been one of those passages. Here in our time of trouble David leads us in prayer to our God who is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (verse 15)--a loyal love that is no mere feeling that runs hot and cold, but a love that gives up His own Son for us. We ask the Lord to help us not because we deserve Him to rescue us (because we don't), but we ask Him on account of His grace in Christ Jesus (verse 6).

You might be overwhelmed by some personal problem or one that affects a lot of people. You might be troubled by something you are responsible for, or by something you have no control over. Or maybe you know someone else who is facing these situations. Instead of obsessing over the obstacles that confront you, fix your eyes on the Lord. Because of His steadfast love for you in Christ, He will not ignore your prayers nor fail to act for you. He is the God who took the terrible tragedy of the crucifixion of His Son and made it to be a blessed salvation for you. Trust that now He will work good from the troubles you need to pray about. In His time, He will gladden your soul (verse 4). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Lord, this I ask, O hear my plea, Deny me not this favor: When Satan sorely troubles me, Then do not let me waver. O guard me well, My fear dispel, Fulfill Your faithful saying: All who believe By grace receive An answer to their praying. ("The Will of God is Always Best" LSB 758, st.3)

-Rev. James Leistico is the pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Windsor, ON.

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