From Pastor Adam Thomas
As we begin today’s service, please pause with me and stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in our own community, and around the world. As you no doubt have heard and read, yesterday at Shabbat services, a gunman targeted the Jewish synagogue because of his deranged hate for their religious faith and cultural observance. He killed eleven members of the congregation and wounded six others, including four police officers. It was the worst attack against Jews in the history of the United States, and another in a devilishly long line of mass shootings in recent months and years at houses of worship, schools, clubs, and other public venues. Please join me in reaching out to your Jewish friends and colleagues. Tell them they are loved. Tell them their witness to God’s presence in this world is valued, respected, and necessary. Tell them we are holding them and the people of the Tree of Life Synagogue in our hearts today. The love of God is real. The Realm of God exists. We strive with our Jewish companions to bring that realm closer to earth. May we stand with our Jewish neighbors today and everyday and keep hate from encroaching on that beautiful realm of peace, justice, and love.
Let us pray:
Gracious and everliving God, you have made all peoples of the earth in your image and likeness: we lift from our broken hearts into your broken heart your beloved children who were murdered yesterday at the Tree of Life synagogue, and we pray that you surround their families with your love and peace in the midst of sorrow; we give thanks for the first responders who enter situations of danger and pray for those who were injured in the shooting. Be with us, O Lord, as we stand with our Jewish neighbors against hate and show forth your love in our lives; in your holy name we pray. Amen.