Dear Ones in Christ,
Grace to you and Peace from God our creator and our Savior Jesus Christ.
With the rest of the world, I continue to closely watch the reports of the e
vents in the Holy Land.
I rejoice at the release of some hostages held by Hamas and, with Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, call for the immediate release of all hostages. I rejoice that some of the most gravely wounded have been allowed to leave Gaza even as humanitarian relief trucks are allowed to enter.
I mourn the Israelis killed in the horrific events of October 7, 2023.
I mourn the Palestinians killed in Gaza and the West Bank.
I fear for the lives of those forced to remain in Gaza, as supplies diminish, bomb
ardment continues, and homes, churches, mosques, and hospitals are destroyed.
I join with Bishop Eaton calling for an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas. We also call for an end to restrictions and delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
I pray for meaningful negotiations leading to a lasting and sustainable peace for all those living in the Holy Land.
I give thanks to God for the faithful witness of our partner church, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. I invite you to hold them in prayer along with Mother of the Savior Church, Dearborn, an Arabic speaking congregation in our Synod with many connections to the Holy Land.
The difficulties and conflicts in the region are complex and long standing. I encourage everyone to seek out reputable sources of information. The ELCA has a list of resources you can access here.
Even as we pray, there are also opportunities to financially support those in need in the region.
The ELCA Disaster Response faithfully directs funds to the region where needs are significant. You can donate to them here.
Opportunity Palestine supports the schools administered by the ELCJHL and you can support them here.
Through these sad and difficult days, we give thanks for the sustaining grace of God coming to us through the cross of Christ. We trust in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, for our future and the future of the world.
Let us pray: O God, strength of those who believe in you, give us comfort and clarity in this midst of conflict and suffering in the Holy Land. Open our ears to hear your voice and obey your will; open our hearts that true justice and wisdom may abound; and open our hands that violent resolution of conflict may cease. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Donald P. Kreiss