I had a normal Saturday in mind. Early to rise. Morning coffee while working on my ministry. Depart for a workout and then meet up with my wife, her visiting mom and our youngest son for lunch. Then home to watch some college football and more Power Gospel work. A normal Saturday; it started that way.
Yet for others, Saturday Oct. 27th was anything but normal. It was not normal for the City of Pittsburgh or for the neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. It was especially not for the Tree of Life Synagogue. Their normal Saturday was supposed to include a morning worship service, scriptural studies and even a baby naming ceremony. But for this congregation, normal suddenly became abnormal, hateful, violent and tragic. In the end, a hate crime brutally claimed 11 lives, injured 6 others and altered countless others.
To show my respect, solidarity and love, let me pay this short tribute;
The “Tree of Life” is first mentioned early pages of the Tanakh, the Hebrew Scriptures, what we Christians call the Old Testament;
- Genesis 2:9 Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden…
And it is last mentioned near the end of the final book of the New Testament;
- Revelation 22:1-2 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
The Tree of Life. God created it to one day be for the healing of the nations. All of them. How good does that sound? I believe, as many do, that this will be fully accomplished, when God comes to us. Yet for now, I pray for healing within our nation, within our city, specifically within the Squirrel Hill community and especially within the lives of the families of the Tree of Life congregation.
Pray with me;
Dear God our Father, the God of Abraham, Issac, Jacob and all of creation, I and others believe that when You come, You will truly be the source of healing for all nations and for all of Your creation. That You will be the Messiah to the Jews and the Savior to the Gentiles. Yet right now, please comfort, console, minister to, bless and help all those so closely and deeply affected by this tragic event. Please bless and strengthen and restore the Tree of Life congregation. Be an ever present help to them, and to all of us. I ask for this in mighty name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, through Your omnipotent power and because of Your unending love. Amen.