On Monday night, there was an interfaith vigil for the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre at Mount Zion Temple in Saint Paul. During the service, a letter from local Lutheran pastor Bradley Schmeling was read.
With his permission, we share the letter here with our entire Luther Seminary community. Pastor Schmeling is the lead pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.
Dear Rabbi Spilker, Adam, my colleague and friend, the people of God at Mount Zion Temple
The people of Gloria Dei stand alongside the people of Mt. Zion Temple as well as the people of Tree of Life Congregation, crying out to God for healing; for an end to hatred and injustice; for the freedom to name our children as citizens of a peaceful world. Our hearts break that such evil can be done to such faithful and good people. We cannot imagine how the murders in Pittsburgh make every Jewish community question its safety, causing fear in the simple act of gathering for worship. The specter of the dark past becomes once again an imagined and tangible threat.
We stand with you, even as we, Lutherans, once again confess any complicity in the dark history of antisemitism that continues to be made manifest in such heinous acts. We truly seek to make amends. We lament that our nation’s highest officials seem to give permission for such violent and hateful speech. We commit to being a church that stands against such rhetoric; a church that works for peace; a church that sees the image of God in all people of all faiths.
We treasure the relationship that we have had for so many years. We pray blessing on your congregation as you gather to remember and grieve. We lift you, and every sibling in the Jewish community into the hands of our loving and faithful God, who promises to heal our broken hearts. With this God, we promise to join you in the work of mending the entire universe.