Public Witness

Violence Begets Violence

Allison Tanner

October 9, 2023

Dear Lakeshore,

My heart continues to break the more news I watch. I grieve for the loss of Gazan, Israeli and Palestinian lives. I grieve for the ignorance of so many trying to make sense of this moment of violence and the larger context within which it takes place. I grieve for the future which will inevitably yield far more violence and I grieve that my tax dollars are already being pledged to add to increased violence. The world, and we ourselves, are so far from Jesus’ insistence on choosing the ways of love, justice, healing and repair.

When watching the unfolding news of what is taking place in the land we call holy, may we decry violence at every turn: from Hamas leadership to Israeli leadership, from rebels to settlers, from individual acts of terror to structures, laws and policies that terrorize. When offering up prayers, may we remember all who long for, and deserve, to live in safety. May we remember all who have been denied this historically – in so many ways and for so long. When we think of security, may we pray for conditions that provide security for all who live in the land. And for those who argue that any group of people have a right to defend themselves, may all who live in the land be given the same right.

Last week, while in our nation’s capital, I visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I spent some time in the section leading up to and through the Civil War and reflected upon the question “when is war necessary to gain freedom for an oppressed group?” How eerily familiar these questions are in this moment. I pray for an end to the violence taking place in Gaza, Palestine and Israel, even as I pray for justice that can lead to lasting peace.

The news of this weekend has confirmed the urgent need to support non-violent strategies to address individual, group and structural violence taking place throughout the Middle East. I’m glad we are already in discussion of what this could look like for our congregation. Prayers as we continue to discern our role in all that is taking place.

I hope you can join me for Wednesday night’s program, “Light in Gaza: A Conversation with Yousef Aljamal” to help gain perspective of what is happening and how we might respond. We will gather in the sanctuary at 6:30 to hear from Mr. Aljamal, a Gazan author and Palestinian refugee. You can also view the program online at (This link provides a recording of the program.)

I leave you with this prayer for peace, offered by the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

With a heavy heart,

Pastor Allison