Pastor's Letter - April 2016

Dear Friends,

We are moving into a very unstable time in the world. Forces are moving across the Middle East
wreaking havoc, death, and destruction as they go.  Many nations in Africa have also experienced
violence and death from forces that seem to have no respect for human life. Europe has been hit
hard with attacks in Paris and most recently Brussels.  And we here in the United States are not
unfamiliar with such violence springing up from within and from without. We need to keep all
these areas in our prayers. At the same time we cannot single out a one group of people or religion
and place blame on them.
As a congregation we have begun working with the Islamic Society of Framingham and Temple
Israel just down the block from us. Our relationship with the Temple has lasted for many
years.  Carol Skolnick shared with me a bulletin from the 50 Anniversary of the church. The
bulletin highlighted our relationship and its strength over time. Now we are beginning to
build a new bridge of understanding with another religious group in our neighborhood.
When I first went to see if the members of the mosque were interested in joining in our garden
project I had no idea how they would respond. I was afraid they would not be interested and the
visit would be in vain. However, when I drove over to the mosque and walked in the group I met
was very pleased that I came. They shared that they had been praying for a way to reach out to
the community and show that they cared and wanted to help make a better world. “You and
you church are an answer to prayer!” They told me with joy in their voices.
As Christians we are called to be witnesses to God’s love. Holy week and Easter are the most
powerful symbols of love that exist. Jesus did not have to choose the path that he took. He could
have chosen to walk away from Jerusalem and all its troubles. But he did not. He chose rather to
stand for God’s love in a time of great upheaval and grave danger. The power structures of the
world were shifting, but in the middle of the chaos Jesus put down an eternal marker of love for all
The power structures of the world are once again shifting. There is danger from within and without.
There are those who call for hate and retribution in all parts of the world. If we have our placed our
faith in the one who laid down his life for us, we must cling to Jesus Christ’s marker of love. In the
midst of the shifting sands of time, in the midst of the violence and hatred being perpetrated in so
many places, in the midst of the chaos that is defining our world there is one place of calm and possibility – and that is in Christ Jesus. I invite all of us to stand together on the rock that cannot be shaken, the rock of God’s love.
In Christ’s Peace,

Pastor Eric