When sudden terror tears apart
the world we thought was ours,
we find how fragile strength can be,
how limited our powers.
As tower and fortress fall, we watch
with disbelieving stare
and numbly hear the anguished cries
that pierce the ash-filled air.
Yet most of all we are aware
of emptiness and void:
of lives cut short, of structures razed,
of confidence destroyed.
From this abyss of doubt and fear
we grope for words to pray,
and hear our stammering tongues embrace
a timeless Kyrie.
Have mercy, Lord, give strength and peace,
and make our courage great;
restrain our urge to seek revenge,
to turn our hurt to hate.
Help us to know your steadfast love,
your presence near as breath;
rekindle in our hearts the hope
of life that conquers death.
C.M. (suggested tunes: BANGOR, DETROIT) or C.M.D. (suggested tune: THIRD MODE MELODY)
The Rev. Carl P. Daw, Jr. is a prolific Episcopalian hymnwriter. He wrote this hymn to commemorate the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon September 11. The hymn debuted at the noon eucharist at the Episcopal Church Center, New York City, on September 18. Daw, is the executive director of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.