The Rev. Robert B. Oliphant
Minister of Worship
Eglinton St. George?s United Church
Toronto, Ontario

September 16, 2001


The congregation will gather in silence, using this time for meditation and preparation for worship, respecting those who value this time of prayer.


When quiet peace is shattered by dreadful noise of war,
and we are bruised and battered by fighting?s constant roar;
Lord, break the silence of your word
and let your healing voice be heard.
O let your healing voice be heard.
When troubles still our love-song, and fear beats hard within,
when anger drowns the dove?s song, and life?s a noisy din,
Lord, break the silence of your word
and let your healing voice be heard.
O let your healing voice be heard.
When clashing wills divide us, and hearts refuse to mend,
when feelings scream inside us, and agonies won?t end,
Lord, break the silence of your word
and let your healing voice be heard.
O let your healing voice be heard.

Words: Mary Nelson Keithahn
Music: John D. Hormon


When the world is in tumult and peace is shattered
We turn our hearts to you, O God.
When hearts are breaking and minds are confused
We turn our hearts to you, O God.
When words fail and love is frustrated
We turn our hearts to you, O God.
When anger rises and hostility surrounds us
We turn our hearts to you, O God.
When the way is unknown and the path dimly lit
We turn our hearts to you, O God.
When we turn our hearts to you, O God,
You hear the cries of your people, and answer in love.


Let us pray:
God of mercy,
You heal the broken in heart,
And bind up the wounds of the hurting.
Strengthen us in our weakness,
Calm our troubled spirits
And dispel our doubts and fears.
Renew our faith; restore our joy in this life,
For it is you who promises life
And gives us hope for the life to come. Amen

HYMN 598 When pain of the world Called to Follow



We gather as a church, as a community of faith, as family, friends and neighbours, because we need to gather. We gather because our world has been changed this week and nothing is as it was before. So we will worship differently today as well. We welcome anyone who is here as a guest or visitor and hope that you will feel comfortable enough to enter into this worship service fully and to know that you are more than welcome to join us on the front lawn for lunch immediately following the service. It is always good for friends to gather and to share a meal together.

There have been so many words this week, so much analysis, so many questions, so much bewilderment. But we begin our worship by remembering particularly those whose lives have been taken this week in acts of violence and terror. In faith we remember them; by faith we welcome them into our circle this day. Listen to these words from the Book of Revelation:

SCRIPTURE Revelation 7 (selected verses)

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, ?Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!?

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ?Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?? I said to him, Sir, you are the one that knows.? Then he said to me, ?These are they who have come out of the great ordeal? They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.?

ANTHEM My shepherd is Lord Harrison Oxley

My Shepherd is Lord, I have all I need, giving me rest in green and pleasant fields, reviving my soul by finding fresh water, guiding my ways with a shepherd?s care. My shepherd is Lord, I have all I need. Though I should walk in death?s dark valley, I fear no evil with you by my side, your shepherd?s staff to comfort me. You spread my table in sight of my foes, anoint my head, my cup runs over; you tend me with love always loyal. I dwell with the Lord as long as I live.


(A candle is lit on the altar after each group is named)

We remember, and welcome to our circle this morning, those who died
aboard American Airlines Flight 11
from Boston bound for Los Angeles
aboard United Airlines Flight 175
from Boston bound for Los Angeles
aboard American Airlines flight 77
from Washington bound for Los Angeles
aboard United Airlines Flight 93
from Newark bound for San Francisco

We remember, and welcome to our circle this morning, those who died
in the North Tower of the World Trade Centre
in the South Tower of the World Trade Centre
in the Pentagon

We remember, and welcome to our circle this morning, those who died
serving as Firefighters
serving as Police Officers
serving as Emergency Response Workers


Let us pray:
Rest eternal grant unto these, O God,
And let light perpetual shine upon them.
May their souls, and the souls of all the departed,
Through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

SOLO Pie Jesu Gabriel Fauré

Blessed Jesus, give them rest, give them rest eternal.





The Gospels declare that our Christian calling includes loving one another: loving God and our neighbours as ourselves. But if we choose to love, we inevitably choose to lose ? for death will come some and part us in this life. Our human response to loss is called grief ? or in biblical terms, lamenting. One of the tasks of grieving is to feel the pain. Feeling the pain, acknowledging the shock and horror and outrage, weeping in sadness, expressing our thoughts and feelings, individually or collectively is critical to our healing.

Some Christian traditions try to tell us that if we have enough faith we won?t need to grieve. Instead, we should only rejoice that the departed are now in heaven. But we are loving, caring human beings. We also follow in the footsteps of Jesus who wept at the death of his friend Lazarus and, as well wept over the impending destruction of the city of Jerusalem. The lament has long been part of our religious heritage. There is a whole book in our Bible entitled ?Lamentations? and many of the psalms are called psalms of lament. They may be spoken or sung together, so that one need not be alone in times of grief. Paul?s first letter to the Thessalonians declares that we grieve, indeed, but we do not grieve as others do who have no hope. In times such as this, we cry out to God to hear our pain and the pain of the world, to comfort us and to end the suffering. Listen now to some of the Psalms of lament.

SCRIPTURE Selections from the Psalms

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
Be gracious to me, and answer me.
?Come,? my heart says, ?seek his face!?
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me.? (Ps 27)

Be gracious unto me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
My eye wastes away from grief,
My soul and body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my misery,
And my bones waste away. (Ps 31)

As a father has compassion for his children,
So you have compassion for those who fear you.
As a mother comforts her child,
So you comfort us, O God.
For you know how we were made.
You remember that we are dust.
As for mortals, their days are like grass;
They flourish like a flower of the field;
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place knows it no more. (Ps 103 with Isaiah 66:13)

The sorrows of death encompassed me
And the pains of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered in distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
?O Lord, I pray, save my life!? (Ps 116)

I lift up my eyes to the hills ?
From whence will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
He will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out
and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore. (Ps 121)


SOLO Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

African-American Spiritual arranged by H. T. Burleigh

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long ways from home.
Sometimes I feel like I?m almost gone, a long ways from home.


Compassionate God,
Listen to your children praying.
Out of the tangle of many emotions:
Grief, anger, disbelief, disappointment,
Hear our cry for your help.
In our weakness, give us strength.
In our pain, give us healing.
In our doubt, restore our faith.
We pray this in the strong name of Jesus. Amen.


HYMN 852 Up from the depths I cry to God MacPherson?s Farewell



SCRIPTURE James 5:13-16

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.



(The congregation will be invited to offer spoken prayers and petitions.)



? O God, we are your people?
(sung) Bring your best to our worst,
bring your peace to our pain,
God of love, heal your people.


Now in the words that Jesus taught us, we pray together saying:
Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.

HYMN 652 Be still, my soul Finlandia





We are never a people without hope. The Christian story is founded in hope ? the hope that sustained Jesus? first followers those first three days until news of the resurrection forged what would become a community of love and of hope. This hope was an ancient hope, rooted in God?s constant activity in the life of the world, rooted in God?s constant meddling in our affairs. It is the hope that. out of destruction comes renewal, out of despair is born hope, and out of death comes life


SCRIPTURE Isaiah 58:6,9b-11

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?? If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. God will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.


O God, where hearts are fearful and limited:
Grant courage and hope.
Where anxiety is infectious and widening:
Grant peace and reassurance.
Where impossibilities close every door and window
Grant imagination and resistance.
Where distrust twists our thinking:
Grant healing and illumination.
Where spirits are daunted and weakened:
Grant soaring wings and strengthened dreams.

AFFIRMATION OF HOPE Adapted from the Australian Student Christian Movement

We affirm our hope that a new day is dawning upon us.
We affirm our vision of a new heaven and a new earth.
We affirm our belief that the love of God
which is greater than all understanding
has the power to unite us
to participate in the creation of a new world.
We affirm the hope that turns suffering
into a creative process.
We affirm the hope that enables us to act.
God we hope: help us to hope together!

HYMN 713 I see a new heaven I See a New Heaven


SCRIPTURE James 2:14-17

A Reading from the Letter of James:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ?Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,? and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.


If the events of this past week have tested our faith, they have even more so strengthened our resolve to make a difference in the world. Our faith, indeed, encourages and strengthens us to be about the work of compassion, healing, restoration, and justice in our world. At the same time, our faith demands that we resist our tendency towards prejudice, our desire to seek retribution rather than justice through due process, and the division of our world into racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious communities of isolation.

Through the grief and terror of this week, we hear the call to be about these good works. Some are simple; some are complex. On the back of the service bulletin you will find a list of activities to which you could commit yourself.

The easiest thing would be to sign the Condolences Book in the Narthex this morning that Trull?s funeral home has graciously provided.

If you would like to make those thoughts more personal, you may send a card or letter to St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in New York City. Father Tom Ryan, a priest at this mid-town Manhattan church, is a friend of Deborah?s. A member of their choir was a flight attendant who was killed on one of the highjacked airplanes. They are still waiting to hear about a number of parishioners who worked in the World Trade Centre. Cards and notepaper will be available outside following the service.

Knowing that the Muslim community has been the target of much ill will this week, you may also want to send a note to the Jaffari Islamic Centre, home to our Muslim neighbours in Thornhill. This is the home of the Bayview Mosque that has initiated an interfaith prayer vigil for this afternoon.

Over a longer period of time, you may wish to seek greater involvement and there are some further suggestions listed for your thoughts and action over the coming days and weeks.

As we begin to ponder these things, and as a symbol of the commitment we make to the building of God?s reign in our world, the offering will now be received.


ANTHEM In the heart where love is abiding

Words: Paul Wigmore
Music: Plainsong arranged by John Barnard

In the heart where love is abiding, God is in that heart. And the love of Christ has made us all of one heart. Then with joyful and with glad hearts let us thank him. Let us fear God and remember all his goodness. Let us love each other with a pure and clean heart. May no quarreling or dispute come between us. Let us see your face, O Lord Christ, now among us. Let us sing with all the angels praise to Jesus. In a song of joy that wells up from a clean heart. Amen.


Let us pray:
These gifts, O God, we dedicate to your purposes.
As we offer them to you, so we offer our lives,
hoping that as these gifts make a difference in the world,
so may we.
Strengthen our resolve and encourage our faith
that we may be more fully your church in the world. Amen





While we have been dealing with the events of this past week in worship upstairs, Connie has been working with the teachers and children of the Church school downstairs in the gym. The children will now be offering to all of us, a tulip bulb. You are invited to plant this bulb in the dark, cool autumn earth. You may do that in your own yard, a friend?s yard, or in a pot or planter in your apartment. As you plant it, take note of the darkness and the rich goodness of the earth. Acknowledge the patience that is required for it, or for anything else of beauty, to grow. And remember the commitments that you have made today, and by the time this bulb offers its flower, may we also have been so changed that our world will be a more beautiful and loving place.

HYMN 586 We shall go out with hope of resurrection Londonderry Air

MICAH?S INVITATION (based on Micah 6:8)

To walk, to act, to love:
this is God?s asking.
Humility, Justice, Kindness:
this is God?s song.
A holy resistance to any oppression;
An endless passion for all good will;
An ancient desire to stand in God?s presence:
These are faith?s rhythms.
Come, join her song.


Go with the strength you have.
Go simply
in search of Love.
And the Spirit go with you. Amen


The congregation is invited to share a meal and conversation
on the front lawn of the church following the service.