Archbishop reflects on tragedy of 9/11 on 20th anniversary

(Photo: Unsplash/Anthony Fomin)

The Archbishop of Canterbury is inviting people to pray for all those affected by violence and terror 20 years on from 9/11.

Archbishop Justin Welby said it was "still hard to articulate the sense of shock and horror felt around the world, the devastating loss experienced by so many people, and the fear and uncertainty that terrible day brought." 

"9/11 was a sharp reminder to us of the fragility of the privilege many of us have of living free of the threat of violence, while many in our world continue to wake to war or the fear of war," he said.

"As we remember those who will still be grieving, recall the fear and sense of insecurity of that time, we again put our hope in the hands of our loving Father God, in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter."

The Archbishop said the events of the last 18 months, with the pandemic, the effects of climate change, and the fall of Afghanistan, had reinforced the "universal need to feel safe".

In a world where many still face violence, the Archbishop said Christians could "find common cause" with people of all faiths and none in seeking to address the shared needs of humanity.

Taking inspiration from the heroism shown on 9/11, he went on to urge people to care for the needs of others. 

"In the midst of violence and terror, we often see those who are willing to make sacrifices for the wellbeing of others: from the first responders at the Twin Towers, to those working to ensure people's safety in Afghanistan. May we strive to be those kinds of people in this broken world," he said.

He concluded with a word of hope from the Bible as he invited people to join him in praying for the people of Afghanistan and all those living with loss.

"The Bible acknowledges our deep capacity for sin and evil, but it also promises that nothing is beyond the transformation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ," he said.

"Today we pray together for all who know the tragedy of loss, for those lives changed forever, for those afflicted by violence and terror, and for the people of Afghanistan who face an uncertain future.

"May the God of all healing guide us together towards the peace offered by the crucified and resurrected Christ."