Monday, October 08, 2001

Prayer helps to soothe emotions

Reaction similar to Sept. 11

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It was late afternoon when the Rev. Dave Weaver, an associate pastor of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, learned of America's strike back.

        With little time to shift gears for Sunday night's singles service, he asked the 30 people who attended about their concerns as their country bombed Afghanistan. Emotions were fresh and contrasting.

        Incredible sadness and grief.

        Relief that justice is being done.

        Fear for the future.

        Concern for Afghan civilians on the ground, especially children.

        Regret that it had to come to this.

        “I feel sad for our country and sad for Afghanistan. People everywhere are all God's people,” said JoAnne Rouse-Clark of Mariemont.

        Vicki Pursley of Eastgate said she is afraid.

        “This is not the end. This is probably the beginning of a lost world,” Ms. Pursley said. “Prayer is about the only thing that's going to work for us.”

        James Paul Davis of Amelia worried about the Afghanistan civilians and hoped the military had pinpointed the Taliban: “I just hope they've done enough careful surveillance that they know what

        they're dropping on.”

        The bombing stirred up emotions for the Rev. Mr. Weaver, who recalled the country's anguish over Vietnam. “I'm as human as you are. My feelings are mixed right now,” he said.

        As Americans rushed to prayer services and places of worship after the Sept. 11 attack, so too did they seek comfort in their faith following Sunday's bombing. The worshippers prayed during a moment of silence. They sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and “God Will Take Care Of You.”

        “Some of us may wonder, "Where is God in all of this?'” the Rev. Mr. Weaver said. “Yet, remember, our faith is strong, and we trust that God is with us amidst all of this. ... I believe there is a God who will take care of us.”

        This is a time, he said, to continue to work for peace. It's a time to turn your back on material things and get reconnected with God and family. And he prayed to God to help us be more tolerant.

        “Help us,” he said, “in our most difficult times, to love our enemies.”


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