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9/11 at the Cathedral

2:04 PM, Sep 10, 2011 • By MARK TOOLEY
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“Here in this majestic National Cathedral we see all around us the symbols of the Cross,” Graham observed.  “The story does not end with the Cross, for Easter points us beyond the tragedy of the Cross to the empty tomb that tells us that there is hope for eternal life, for Christ has conquered evil and death, and hell. Yes, there is hope.” Graham recalled:  “I’ve become an old man now and I’ve preached all over the world and the older I get the more I cling to that hope that I started with many years ago and proclaimed it in many languages in many parts of the world.”

And Graham pointed at the choice before America, “whether to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nation—or, whether we choose to become stronger through all of this struggle—to rebuild on a solid foundation,” which is “trust in God.”   He noted that the World Trade Center had exemplified the “prosperity and creativity of America.”  Even in collapse, there lay beneath a foundation not destroyed.  Graham then recited the words from the old hymn “How Firm a Foundation,” which was a favorite to Andrew Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Teddy Roosevelt.  

Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

Graham concluded with his prayer that the “loving arms of God [are] wrapped around us,” that God would give “wisdom and courage and strength to the President and those around him, and that “this is going to be a day that we will remember as a day of victory.”

This weekend’s “A Call to Compassion” hosted by National Cathedral will not likely cite “victory” or sturdy faith in the God of the Bible.  And its more politically correct commemoration of 9/11 will not likely stir the hearts as did its momentous service on September 14, 2001.  But the Graham sermon and other messages of that day, including President Bush’s, are not forgotten.

Mark Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy.

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