Ten years ago, it was speculated that one of the outcomes of the Sept 11 2001 tragedy would be a more devout society that honours God more than it did before the terrorist act. The expressed formal exclusion of clergy and absence of formal prayers in 911 anniversary events is perhaps a confirmation that society has actually become less interested in God. More worrisome is the ignorant commoditisation of religion as an item – which needs no further disaggregation and should be lumped alike for purposes of decision making. I do tend to agree that the objective of assembling all faiths for prayers is much misguided due to lack of deeper spiritual insight but perhaps a modern day Elijah will emerge to challenge and expose the prophets of Baal in an anniversary arena someday.
My understanding tends to be that grief only complicates the issues of faith for most and is really like an unexpected shaking that at best exposes existing cracks but never really leaves the building stronger until the foundation is strengthened again with the word of God. For many it deals a decisive blow that brings down their possibilities for knowing God – but still God is so merciful and reaches through the worst crisis.
We love events and adore quick fixes. But what strengthens the faith of people are mostly not events but processes … continuous learning of Christ sometimes in quiet caves .
I am often wary of faith that suddenly sprouts out of crisis and fear that a weak foundation will only someday in future be exposed – if the word of God does not address the foundations quickly. I am even more suspicious of sentimental words and nice poetry that are supposed to console but which are like cheap whitewash that dissolve by even the mildest rains.
While we are to mourn with those who mourn and do well to console the broken-hearted, these correct anniversary actions without the word of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit are like well intended balms that never really soothe. They are at best deceptive and expensive rituals and vanities…that only cause us to say in the end “…the harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved.”
Jeremiah 8  We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble!  The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein.  For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.  When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.  Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?  The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
God speaks of the true but rejected rest to be given to the weary that comes from the word … precept upon precept… here a little, there a little.
Isaiah 28 “Whom will he teach knowledge? and whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts?  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”  For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people,  To whom He said, “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,” and, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear.
Great speeches and grand events commemorating important historic traditions and anniversaries may not achieve half as much in true consolation as a simple Sunday school class with your unrecognised but diligent Sunday school teacher with a memory verse – through whom God has sent a word to take you out of the depths to the next step in your growth. My advise to the pained and still hurting …go to church and be refreshed by the word of God…the Balm of Gilead is expecting you.