We mingle our grief with the Tree of Life synagogue community in Pittsburgh, PA whose sacred Sabbath service was shattered by a murderous rampage this past Saturday.  No words can express our condolences, our sorrow, our anger.  No words can express our prayers for comfort to somehow come to those affected by the trauma.

We also remember children murdered in school, African-American parishioners murdered in church, threats made on mosques, thousands of unknown assaults on fellow human beings.  We are tragically reminded, again, that evil is always present, and these days it’s being given free rein.

May we remember that goodness is also always present, that life is a beautiful gift, that the breath of life moves through each and all of us, connecting us to each other and to all creation.  Every breath we take, every decision we make, every day we’re given is a sacred opportunity to be goodness.

No, words cannot fully express.  So we make our presence known.  If available, we’ll stand with our neighbors in community vigils over the next few days.  We contact Jewish friends or colleagues or communities to lend moral support.  We pour our souls into prayer for wholeness and healing in all creation.  We speak out against the vitriol and hatred being hurled into our public life by political leaders and others.

And, dear friends, we continue our work, wherever we’re planted, in health ministries.  For in this holy work, we are reaching out in compassion to all people.  We focus on healing, on wholeness, on peace with whomever we encounter in our places of ministry, whoever they are and whatever their station in life.  We simply and faithfully continue our work, trusting that our effort and our presence shines a light that the darkness cannot overcome, that we’re doing tikkun olam, helping to repair the world.

May peace be with us all, may we all be shalom.

Rev. Karen MacDonald, M.Div., HMA President