Public Witness

Lakeshore’s Ceasefire Banner

Allison Tanner

January 5, 2024

Following a Church Council meeting this past Tuesday I (Pastor Tanner) was asked to write a statement interpreting the “Love Demands Permanent Ceasefire Now” sign that hangs at LABC. Here is a draft of that statement.

On Christmas Eve, 2023, Lakeshore put up a Ceasefire banner. This banner represents the church’s commitment to end the violence taking place in Gaza, in Israel, in Oakland, and throughout the world. This banner is part of an interfaith effort in the Bay Area to offer a moral voice of love in response to the heartbreak of violence and warmongering that surrounds us. Our faith calls us to love, and love demands we find ways to put the weapons down.

Lakeshore has spent more than a decade working for Ceasefire in Oakland. We’ve borne witness to too much death, too many destroyed lives, and too much fear in our cities. We work with our larger community to find better ways to address the problems in Oakland and offer opportunities for the whole community to thrive. Likewise, these values apply to the genocide unfolding in Gaza. While deploring the violence taking place in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank, including war crimes perpetrated by Hamas and Israel, we again insist that there has been too much death, too many destroyed lives, and too much terror taking place. We lament the forced displacement of nearly 2 million people, the killing of more than 20,000 Gazans, the vast majority being women and children.

This banner was put up on Christmas Eve in recognition that we cannot celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace without decrying the ways of war. We cannot simply pray for peace on earth without taking action to participate in the inbreaking of God’s peace in the world. In solidarity with the people of Gaza, Bethlehem, Oakland, Burma, Uganda, Ukraine, Latin America and throughout the world, we commit to following the ways of peace.

A Prayer for Peace

Prince of Peace,

We plead with you for an end to war

Too many have been slaughtered

Too many are fighting daily for their survival

Traumatized and fearful.

Death abounds. Dehumanization abounds.

And we long for your coming. 

We need you. We need your peace.

Not the peace that comes from bombs or bloodshed.

But the peace that demands the humanity of every one of your precious children.

The peace that builds bridges and offers community care.

The peace that refuses to ignore the suffering of one another.

The peace that connects us to one another.

The peace that invites us to work together toward healing.

 

As we work for your peace,

Give us eyes to see the needs of our neighbor

Give us ears to hear the concerns of the world

Give us hearts that can break at the suffering around us

Give us hands to do the work of peace-making 

– in ourselves and in our communities

– in our cities and in our world

For we are all in need of Your peace, Your saving grace, Your healing power.

Amen.