To my dear friends in the Baltimore Jewish community:
My heart, like yours, is deeply saddened, shocked and mourning the incredible loss and violent assault on your community in Pittsburgh. There are no adequate words to express the unmitigated grief and pain that has been levied upon you simply because you are Jewish — God’s people — the people of the Book.
As part of the larger evangelical community, I grieve with you in the deepest possible way because we are also people of the Book. We believe in the inherent right of all people to worship God according to the dictates of what the Book advocates. As a citizen of this country, I believe our constitution guarantees each person the inherent right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As your innocent worshipers sat in their beloved synagogue pursuing their right to happiness, their right to life and liberty was violated by the most vicious act of anti-Semitic hatred ever seen on our shores.
My heart is broken with yours. America has been a haven for Jews since our inception as a nation; a nation founded upon Judeo- Christian ethics within the pages of the Book that each of our religious communities cherish and endeavor to live by.
As a member of TrinityLife Church in Lutherville, we have had the protection of armed guards for several years now. I felt a little reassured by this presence as I walked into church yesterday morning. I also felt reassured that our executive pastor shared his initial reaction to the tragedy during our worship service. He then led our congregation in heartfelt prayers and passionate petitions from Psalm 34 for the comfort of the Pittsburgh community and for the Jewish people everywhere.
As part of the Baltimore evangelical community, I add my voice to all the others that have spoken out in solidarity with the Jewish people, who are the apple of God’s eye, and have every right on this earth to live in peace and security within our borders.
On my desk is an open copy of the Holy Scriptures. It is, providentially, the Tree of Life Version (TLV).
To the bereaved families and victims of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and as a member of TrinityLife Church in Baltimore, I will continue to pray that “Adonai will be very close to the broken- hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18: TLV).
Together we say with you, “Never Again.”
Mae Bochau, Ruth International, Inc.