October 31, 2018

Last Saturday, on the Jewish Sabbath an American terrorist murdered eleven worshippers in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, in what is being called the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history.

In our Baptismal Covenant we promise to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being.  That means that we are called to reject every kind of bigotry and hatred, that attempts to infect our communities and our nation.

In the book of Acts, (22:8), when Jesus appeared before Saul of Tarsus on the Road to Damascus, the resurrected Christ introduced himself as “Jesus of Nazareth” one who was raised in the Jewish faith.  Jesus did not resign his religious tradition when he resurrected. He is transfigured and glorified, but he is still Jesus. This means he is still, and always will be, the son of Mary.

Whatever our ethnic background, if we believe in Jesus Christ, we are joined to him. That means we are adopted members of the Jewish Family. A story that started not in first-century Bethlehem but, began with the promise that Abraham would be the father of many nations.  This promise is found in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

An attack on the Jewish people is an attack on all of us.

As our Bishop, Carlye J. Hughes, wrote in a recent Facebook post, “ I am especially grateful to all those working hard right now to stem the tide of racism that has unleashed hate groups and hate crimes against so many people. Hate is an equal opportunity offender, it knows no boundaries and hears silence as approval. Many people are vocal in their resistance to this pernicious and deadly problem that reoccurs periodically in our country. It takes honesty and vigilance to stamp it out”.

It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit gives each of us voice to always speak out against those who seek to attack any of our brothers and sisters of any faith journey.

In Mark 28 when Jesus is asked, ““Which commandment is the first of all?” he answers, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Let us commit to the work of meeting our neighbor and joining together in the power of love which will defeat the cowardness of hate.