November 3, 2018
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God –Romans 8:38-39
This week, Quaker communities of faith across the six New England states are mourning with our Jewish neighbors the deadliest act of violence against Jews in this country’s history. We mourn with all who are targeted by hate. We join our hearts in grief with the grieving. We search for ways to respond to the corrosive evils of anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and the persecution of those labeled as “other,” even as we acknowledge our own complicity in these sins. We yearn for justice, for healing, for refuge for those most at risk. In town squares, in places of worship, in living rooms, in legislative offices and detention centers, we unite with countless others to protect people from further violence, violence fueled by false prophets preaching fear.
Each day brings further anxiety, violence, and vitriol, while some charged to be leaders incite the worst in us as human beings. We are surrounded by stories of hatred, division, and despair. And yet, we know this: The story of Love will endure.
This week, in the face of the mass murder of Jews at prayer, Jewish doctors and nurses treated the man who opened fire in the Tree of Life Synagogue. A stranger in a parking lot cradled the 12-year-old boy whose grandfather was one of two black people shot and killed by a white man outside Louisville, Kentucky. As some deny the basic humanity of transgender people and people seeking asylum, communities respond with acts of radical love, inclusion, and sanctuary. In these and so many unnamed acts, amidst such suffering, we see the infinite Love of God.
It is the testimony of the Religious Society of Friends that God is at work healing the brokenness of the world and the brokenness within each of us. Nothing can hold back the unshakeable power of Love in this time, and throughout all time. What matters in this moment–in every moment–is how we choose to participate in this eternal story. Our lives must proclaim that this Love is stronger than all fear.
We commit to live today trusting in this Truth. The words we say and the choices we make in the coming days and weeks must bear witness to Love in concrete acts of connection and care, in our homes and neighborhoods, in our schools and workplaces, in the coming elections, as communities of faith, as people who call this country home, as those seeking refuge and those offering it. We must waste no opportunity to love.
We must seek the grace to keep free from the politics of rage, division, numbness and dehumanization, even toward those we may perceive as enemies. We must nurture in each other the courage to come together across difference, to resist hopelessness, to renounce a worldview that treats anyone as disposable, to affirm that the Spirit of God dwells in everyone. With each person, in each moment, each place—this movement grows.
This is the time for a politics of presence, of radical relationship, of mutual aid and reconciliation. It’s a time to be witnesses, storytellers of the broken-hearted Love that overcomes the powers of fear. Let the walls of separation come crashing down.
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
Fritz Weiss, Presiding Clerk
Noah Merrill, Secretary
What does thee say?