After watching from our 16th-floor windows as both towers lit up, then fell into a cloud of smoke, we gathered in the chapel of the Interchurch Center in Morningside Heights to pray. Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset has said, "History happens when the sensitive crown of the hu man heart inclines to one side or the other of the horizon." I heard the American heart incline and new history unfold as the chapel rang out with the precious names of loved ones downtown. In the speaking of the names I heard the sensitive crown of the human heart incline from security to insecurity; from entitlement to vulnerability; from the veneer of secularity (disenchantment) to a yearning to speak to our Maker; from insularity to fleeting solidarity.
Stephen Paul Bouman is executive director of Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and author of Grace All Around Us: Embracing God's Promise in Tragedy and Loss.