Our Creator, mysterious force behind the differentiating gene that gives our species an ability to shape the environment to our own comfort, to create things both marvelous and horrible, to make things both large and small, we come today to seek forgiveness for our sins.
This is a day when our tribe will gather throughout our lands to remember a day of great shock and shame. Zealous criminals seized control of instruments we use to transport freely around the planet we are given to live upon, and intentionally crashed them into the towers where we peacefully – if perhaps not always honestly or fairly – transacted trade amongst our tribes. We were rightly proud of these buildings, and they held thousands of innocent merchants and servants. Our tribe has never been struck with such an arrogant and cruel blow.
We reacted with shock, pain and fear. We are a tribe of great resources. We pooled everything we had available to seek our revenge, and borrowed more from neighboring tribes to mount a great crusade against the small congregation of insane devotees of a religion we do not recognize as anything valid or true. They were harbored by other tribes, and we took our mighty planes against the lot of them, followed by our soldiers and soldiers of our neighbors. We began wreaking such havoc against our enemies as to clearly demonstrate our intolerance of any such future acts upon us. We bombed, we shot, we killed and maimed in exponential numbers beyond our losses of that day. We imprisoned and terrified members of many tribes, including our own. Finally, 10 years later, at great expense to ourselves and our values, we killed the man we identified as the chief architect of that seminal act of terror.
While we regret the destruction, waste and tragedy of our response, the consequences of our revenge is not the sin we ask forgiven. We believe we have made our point, and hope against reason that our actions will prevent any such future act of hatred toward us. Some sense of logic you bestowed upon our composition, Creator, tells us that our hope is in vain, and we stand in vigilant fear against the next attack upon us.
What we must ask forgiven, divine force, is a miscarriage in our primal understanding and our failure to correct it. Our cognitive power is so great, we are able to plant and harvest, build and shelter, devise and produce scintillating beauty and understand abstract principles of justice, yet we cannot seem to bring ourselves to peace.
At some early stage of our development, we learned to fear. Our fear was so terrible, it taught us to intimidate those who were slightly different than ourselves. We formed an erroneous opinion that some of us had a right to a greater share of resources and power than others. Hard work to gather what we desired was in itself inadequate. We needed to protect ourselves and, when necessary, conquer and enslave others to get everything we need to be comfortable and happy. Nothing scares us more than the thought we might not get what we need this day, and we have never been able to escape the violent cycles that flow from our fright.
Please grant us credit, Creator, for forging mighty philosophical, theological, psychological and commercial institutions to resolve our fear and seek peace. From the first night of our consciousness, we realized that we are tiny beings in an incomprehensible universe. From the first death of a loved one, we understood the fragility and sacred preciousness of life. We have defined great understandings of love, compassion and peace.
But we’ve never quite managed to trust the higher understanding. As soon as we think we have found The Way, someone disagrees with someone else, a fist is thrown or a gun is fired or a bomb is dropped and we’re into another fight.
Creator, we ask forgiveness for our lack of courage. We are brave enough to face death, brave enough to send some of our own into foreign battles, brave enough to apprehend and question anyone who might possibly be a surreptitious actor of harm against us or our families in the cities we call home. But we have not been brave enough to effectively stand against our own violence.
We ask forgiveness for our lack of discipline. We are structured enough to create complicated societies that make sure there is food on the table, shelter for most of the families and individuals, and fuel for our mobility. But we haven’t quite figured out how to share equitably amongst ourselves or extend our level of comfort to less sophisticated tribes across the globe. And it seems that the means of our dominion may possibly be damaging the biosphere that created us.
We have been talking about the tragedy since it happened, and on this day many of us will gather – in concentric circles around those most directly affected – to keen our grief and bellow our determination that we will never be attacked again. Deep inside our souls, the overwhelming dread that such an attack is inevitable, that we are vulnerable to pernicious evil, our fear suppresses any alternative course to resolving our unbalanced way of life.
Great Creator of Life and Consciousness, we beg forgiveness for just not being smart enough.