The Las Cruces faith communities gathered twice within one week as a united push back response of love and justice to acts of violence and hatred spurred on by fear.
Last week we received word of graffiti vandalism at the local Unitarian Universalist (UU) church that appears to be racial in nature. Two other area churches had windows broken.
A vigil took place on Tuesday evening, October 30 as a response to these acts. The Rev. Xolani Kacela, Pastor, led us in song, readings, prayers and comments that brought a sense of love, hope and comfort to the many gathered that day.
On Saturday, October 27 we learned of the eleven deaths at the hands of one person who walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, PA and opened fire declaring “All Jews must die.”
On Sunday, October 28 a Memorial and vigil was held at Temple Beth-El led by Rabbi Larry Karol. Music and prayers were shared as well as stories told. Many prayers and songs were said and sung. I share one with you entitled: When Evil Darkens our World. [Chaim Stem – from Mishkan Hanefesh: New Machzor for the Days of Awe. Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2015]
“When evil darkens our world, let us be the bearers of light. When fists are clenched in self-righteous rage, let our hands be open for the sake of peace. When injustice slams doors on the ill, the poor, the old, and the stranger, let us pry the doors open. When shelter is lacking, let us be builders. Where food and clothing are needed, let us be providers. Where knowledge is denied, let us be champions of learning. When dissent is stifled, let our voices speak truth to power. When the earth and its creatures are threatened, let us be their guardians. When bias, greed, and bigotry erode our country’s values, let us proclaim liberty throughout the land. In the places where no one acts like a human being, let us bring courage; let us bring compassion; let us bring humanity.”
Clergy, faith leaders and laity from many faith traditions, as well as those with no particular faith tradition, stood together to add support and care and love at both events. In fact, these could be called SRO events. Those gathered share a strength and a light and a deep hope that is needed in the world today. These communities also bring a profound dedication to upholding love and justice and will not allow fear and hatred to have the last word. Take heart, dear hearts.