A Hymn for September 11

When Sudden Terror Tears Apart

This hymn text was composed by Dr. Carl P. Daw, Jr., Executive Director of The Hymn Society of America and Canada, five days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He explains:

“As you will understand, it has been hard to concentrate on office work this week. One of the ways I have dealt with the situation is to write the text quoted below. You are welcome to use it or to pass it along to someone you think might want it. Hope Publishing Company is waiving the usual fee as long as the copyright information appears.” “The text may be used without charge in any worship context as long as the copyright statement is included.”

C.M. Suggested Tunes: Bangor, Detroit
or C.M.D. Suggested Tune: Third Mode Melody
Other hymn tunes may be found in The United Methodist Hymnal metrical index on page 926. You might consider tunes for, Amazing Grace or O God, Our Help In Ages Past.

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.


Additional information on Dr. Carl P. Daw, Jr. can be found here.
Copyright © 2001 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream IL 60188. All rights reserved.

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One Comment on “A Hymn for September 11”

  1. John Clifford Says:

    This text will be used as a reading in the Unitarian service in Glasgow, Scotland on 11.9.11. It is also a hymn in our new hymnal. Many thanks for this creative gift to all of us.

    Rev John Clifford


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