In response to the tragedy at the Tree of Life Or L'Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh that left 11 dead and six others wounded, Bishop Laurie Haller called upon Iowa United Methodists to "name evil." At the same time, she issued the invitation to "work for good in the world." In a prayer, posted on her Facebook page, Bishop Laurie expressed the hope that "each one of us [can] become an instrument" of God's peace and hope.
Merciful God, we confess that fear and anger have overwhelmed us. We grieve the unconscionable and unspeakable deaths of eleven of your precious children at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, one of the deadliest attacks on the Jewish community in US history, and we find no comfort. We remember Jeremiah 31:15, “The Lord proclaims: A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and wailing. It’s Rachel crying for her children; she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more.”
Remember, Lord, your people. Forgive our sin. Reorient us in your steadfast love and remind us how to trust you. Renew in us a right spirit as we reach out with compassion to all those who are in deep grief and need our prayers, our help, and our advocacy right now. We especially lift up the families of those whose lives were tragically cut short, those who have been injured, and the one who will likely be facing federal hate-crime charges.
God, give us the courage to name evil at the same time as we work for good in the world. May each one of us become an instrument of your peace and hope. Amen.