Friends of the Memorial Church Community:
We just experienced a tragic week in what has been a tumultuous year of a traumatic decade. Politically motivated pipe-bombs, the assassination of two Kentucky residents by a white supremacist, and the unconscionable slaying of eleven Jewish sisters and brothers inside of their synagogue have left all people of goodwill breathless. We live in a theatre of terror. That the leadership of this nation appears to inflame rather than extinguish the embers of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and discrimination only pours salt in our wounds. Thus, like the Hebrew prophet Habakkuk, so many cry out today, "How long, O Lord?"
As a nation, we must face the fact that we are ill. This is an inconvenient, uncomfortable, yet necessary truth. Mass shootings, racial and religious bigotry, and bitter partisanship are mere symptoms of a market-driven, winner-take-all morality that defines our society. We can do better. We can be better. For God has already told us what is good. Thus, as the Talmud teaches, we cannot become daunted by the enormity of our grief. We must do justly now. Love mercy at this moment. Walk humbly today. We have no other choice. Either we will live together as brothers and sisters, or perish together as fools.
Jonathan L. Walton Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister, The Memorial Church of Harvard University
Photo: The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a mass shooting took place on Oct. 27, 2018. Credit: Google Maps screenshot.