An Open Letter for Trying Times

New York Theological Seminary joins with others in offering our condolences to the victims of violence once again across this nation over the past week.  We lift our voices as well to condemn the evil and hate that came in the form of 11 slain Jewish members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shot to death as they worshiped; that showed up in Jeffersontown, Kentucky killing two African American people in a grocery store; and that was packaged in envelopes in the form of bombs and mailed people across the nation.

We write this letter from a place of anguish and anger.  We find ourselves frustrated as we try to reconcile the evil and hate that we are witnessing with the thread of humanity that is supposed to link us all in mutual love and respect despite our differences.  Such evil and hate find the hairline fractures in our society and cause them to widen. Evil and hate do not answer questions, they produce them.

Like so many others we are leaning on our faith to sustain and console in the midst of situations that appear to be unsustainable and inconsolable.  Like so many others we are asking “Why?”  But we also ask “What can we do?”

To start, we can offer words of comfort, and we can pray. If ever there was a time when the intersection of prayers through faiths across the nation was needed, it is now.   But there’s more.  In addition to taking up the spiritual mantle of intersession and intersection of prayers, we must also take up the physical and mental mantles of standing against evil in all of its manifestations, of speaking against the suppression of rights and for the protection of the stranger and alien in our midst, and of marching to voting polls.  Most important we must decide that we will not fall to intimidation or fear, we will not run and hide, and we will not let hate win, for what is inside of us is stronger. We must fully embody that our faith, without work, is dead. Let us be faithful together, and collectively, let’s get to the work of eradicating hate.

“Here bring your wounded hearts, Here tell your anguish; Earth has no sorrow that Heaven, cannot heal.”  – Thomas Moore


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