Dear Friends, our lectionary this past Sunday, in which Exodus 32:1-14 reinforces God’s covenant with the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was perfectly timed for this moment in our world; these conflicts are not new. Over these past fourteen days we have witnessed the worst of our human brokenness.We have also experienced an outcry from around the world for peace in our time.
What is happening in the Holy Land is devastating and a horror to witness. In our own country antisemitic acts and islamophobia continue to rise. Understandably many are feeling shaken, unsure what to believe. Some are rushing to take sides. Others are advocating for simplistic solutions. The temptation to engage in blame and further dehumanization is difficult to resist. Amid the hatred, fear, oppression, and violence, we know that this is not the world we seek.
We are followers of Jesus. In each situation we vow to ‘seek and serve Christ in all persons, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to strive for justice and peace among all people.’ Each Sunday we repent, we turn back to God’s ways and change our minds. The way of Jesus is the path, the way to the world we seek.
We are healed by forgiveness, stronger when we love, and made whole in relationship with all God’s beloved people. This past Tuesday, when we responded to the request of Archbishop Housam of Jerusalem and had a day of prayer and fasting in our diocese, we took part in a global event, joining our voices with people around the world in praying for peace. We will continue to pray, to advocate for peace, and to work for justice in our own communities and our world.
In particular, I encourage us all to seek ways of offering support to our Jewish and Muslim neighbors. I also encourage us all to limit our exposure to social media and to voices consumed by fear that further divide us. This is a time for deep listening, for humility, and compassion. Let us encourage one another and be reminded that God’s love and mercy are greater than the challenges we face. I close with a passage from this past Sunday’s lectionary that speaks to us today,
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9