Bishop Park responds to terror in Paris

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The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice. The Lord is a refugee for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

(Psalm 9:7-10)
"May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.
(Psalm 33:22)
November 14, 2015

Dear United Methodists of the Susquehanna Annual Conference:

Grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, the Prince of Peace,
Healer of our brokenness, and Hope of the world!

The world was dealt with yet another diabolical blow of terrorism. Our hearts go
out to the grieving families and the loved ones of the innocent victims of the
terrorist attacks in France this past Friday. They are in our prayers for comfort,
strength, and healing. While still in shock and disbelief, we share their agony and
pain.

The world shall never forget that terrorism is the most despicable crime against
humanity. No matter what the cause may be, terrorism must be condemned. In
solidarity with the human community; our resolve to end terrorism must only
grow stronger.

Even in these most trying times, let's be reminded that God is with us. We put our
faith in our God whose steadfast love, goodness, and mercy endures forever. We
put our hope in the Lord who judges in righteousness, governs with justice, and
rules for peace. We can be assured of God's power that triumphs over the force of
darkness and death.

As people of faith and hope, the most essential thing we have to do, and we can do
now, is to pray. I would ask our people to have a moment of prayer in silence or in
spoken words during worship this Sunday. You may want to use the following
prayer or prayers of your own:

O God, we pause in silence and reflection because once again evil has invaded 
sharply into your world with all its vengeance and power. We are particularly 
mindful of the persons who have lost their lives and their families and loved ones. We 
lift up for healing those persons who were injured and are fighting to live. We pray in 
solidarity with those who are directly affected by the horrible tragedy as they now 
live in fear and pain. May your presence bring a sense of calm with the assurance 
that you are with them even in these darkest days. O Lord, provide wisdom for those 
who must lead and respond in the midst of these horrendous events. 

God, we also pray for ourselves that we might be a people who are not quick to 
condemn entire nations or a particular religious faith because of the extremist acts of 
terror of a few. God, your people throughout the world call upon you as their creator.
They too have been harmed by the actions of these terrorists. Lord, may we learn how 
to live together in peace and with a respect for all persons regardless of race, color, 
creed, or religion. 

God, you are the Creator and Author of this life and when you looked at that 
creation, after every act, you declared it good. Truly the world in which we inhabit is 
magnificent with the hues of humanity and everywhere we look we see evidence of 
your creative power, presence and beauty. You intended for humanity to live in 
harmony with you, nature, each other and our own selves. To that end, O God, we 
once again recommit to work for peace in the world. As the hymn writer expressed it, 
"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."

We pray these spoken and unspoken words in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord
and Savior we worship, the Prince of Peace we follow, Healer of our brokenness we 
represent, and Hope of the world we proclaim. Amen.

Grace and Peace,

Jeremiah J. Park

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