Pastoral Letter after Pittsburgh Shooting
October 30, 2018
Dear St. Paul’s,
On Sunday evening, hundreds gathered at Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh to remember the lives of the slain at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We gathered across geographic, racial, cultural, religious, and theological divides. We gathered in the belief that the God whom we worship calls us to treasure the dignity of every human being, and to do everything within our power to allow for life’s flourishing.
The call of the Christian is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Be they Republican, Democrat, or unaffiliated: the call is to love our neighbors. Be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or any other faith: the call is to love our neighbors. Be they refugees, immigrants, or native-born: the call is, and will forever remain, to love our neighbors. There are no arbitrary limits or boundaries around this command.
In times of crisis, it is tempting to proclaim peace where there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14). In keeping with the situation before us, therefore, let us be humble in the face of difference and bold in the face of hatred, apathy, and indifference. Let us be filled with righteous love and holy anger in the face of vile acts of hatred and bigotry. And let us take that sacred fire and use it—not to destroy or consume, as those who allow hatred to take root—but instead to meld our hearts in solidarity with that of those to whom Jesus has pledged unrelenting and uncompromising allegiance: the vulnerable, the oppressed, the suffering, and the marginalized.
God has chosen to side with them. Let us go and do likewise.
Grace and peace,
The Rev. George Adamik
The Rev. Javier Almendárez-Bautista
The Rev. J. Carr Holland, III
The Rev. Tony Wike
The Rev. Candy Snively