From Bishop Park, on the religious violence in New Zealand

. 2 min read
March 15, 2019
“I wish that my eyes were
fountains of tears, so I could cry day and night

for my people who were killed.”
(Jeremiah 9:1)
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and
has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of

(Ephesians 2:14)
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the
Susquehanna Conference,

          Once again, we
woke up to the horrific news of the events that transpired in
Christchurch, New Zealand. My heart breaks and is deeply disturbed when I
see the loss of innocent lives and diabolic violence that continue to be
inflicted on people by fellow human beings.  I am even more alarmed
and disturbed when such events as today happen because of distorted
beliefs and hate-filled ideologies often attributed to religion. The human
suffering from the violence of hatred is so profound that at times we
wonder where we can find healing and hope.
     Jesus Christ came to bring peace and to break down
the walls of hostility. He commanded his followers to love God and to
love one another. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must be diligent in
stopping prejudice, discrimination, and hatred and in spreading
tolerance, reconciliation and peace.

          At our Cabinet
meeting this morning, we offered to God the following prayer*:
          “O King of Kings,
O King of the universe, King who will be, who is, may You forgive us each
and every one. Accept my prayer, O King of grace.
          Anyone who claims
to be in the light but hates his or her brother or sister is still in the
darkness. Whoever loves his or her brother or sister lives in the light;
And there is nothing to make that person stumble.
Lower my vengeance, my anger and my hatred, and banish my wicked thoughts
from me; Send down a drop from heaven of Your holy spirit. To vanquish
this heart of rock of mine. Amen.
          Lord, let our
memory provide no shelter for grievance against another.
          Lord, let our
heart provide no harbor for hatred of another.
          Lord, let out
tongue be no accomplice in the judgement of another.”
(*From Celtic Daily Prayer, adjusted)

     Our God mourns with us today; but our God also
journeys with us. We remember all the loved ones of those who were killed
and are mourning today in our prayers. We lift up those who have been
wounded in our prayers for healing. We offer prayers for God to gather
all humanity under God’s wings of grace, mercy, and love.

     During this season of Lent, may we intensify and
renew our passion for and commitment to embodying the Beloved Community
of Christ in our community and around the world.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our Brokenness,
and Hope of the World,

Jeremiah J. Park