Thursday, September 14, 2006

When Sudden Terror Tears Apart

When Sudden Terror Tears Apart

by Carl P. Daw, Jr.

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.

I discovered this hymn on Frank Logue's blog, Irenic Thoughts. It can be sung to lots of common tunes including "Amazing Grace" and "America the Beautiful". It was written by the Rev. Carl P. Daw, Jr., a prolific Episcopal hymnwriter. He wrote this hymn in response the terrorist attacks of 2001. The hymn debuted at the noon eucharist at the Episcopal Church Center, New York City, on September 18, 2001. Daw, is the executive director of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

The hymn is Copyright © 2001 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream IL 60188. All rights reserved. According to the United Methodist Committee on Relief website this poem may be reprinted for individual and congregational use with the appropriate copyright information and author credit line. Hope Publishing Co. has waived the usual fee/permission requirements.

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