“Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror… Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.”
-Psalm 6:2, 8
The events of the past week have shown that terrorism is, sadly, alive and well in the United States. Even worse, the terrorists who mailed bombs to prominent critics of the President and who murdered Jews attending a worship service were not foreign enemies, but our fellow Americans. These despicable acts have shaken our already rattled bones with terror. Those who committed these acts of violence, along with any who have incited or encouraged their actions, deserve our steadfast and unequivocal condemnation.
Terrorism is the employment of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. Fear is a powerful motivator. Today I spoke with Rabbi Ari of Congregation Or Shalom who shared with me that a number of his congregants have expressed to him their fear of what’s happening to our country in the wake of the terrorist attacks against Jews and other minorities in this country over the past two years. I assured him that I don’t think it’s irrational in the least to be afraid, but also that as leaders of faith communities it’s our work to encourage our members to maintain faith and hope in God as we fully engage ourselves in the battle against evil and oppression. Our bones may shake with terror, but we will not give up. Our trust is in God who has brought us this far and who hears the sound of our weeping. Following in the footsteps of those who have gone before us, we will continue the struggle against fascism, against racism, and for the rights and liberties that God wants for us and that previous generations have given their lives to secure. We shall not be moved.
On this day, when we recall the faithfulness of the saints who have gone before us, I give thanks to those who have engaged in this struggle for the freedom of all. May we all be faithful in the fight for freedom against those who would use violence as a means of securing their political aims.