The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
On Saturday, April 18, 2015, Bishop Patricia Lull was invited to give an address at an Ecumenical Prayer Service at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Saint Paul, MN. This prayer service was in recognition of the Armenian Genocide that began 100 years ago in 1915, led by the Ottoman Turkish government, extinguishing 1,500,000 indigenous Armenians from Ottoman Turkey. Bishop Lull was invited by Father Tadeos Barseghyan of St. Sahag Armenian Church in Saint Paul, MN.
Dear Friends in Christ,
I am grateful for this invitation to stand with you at this Ecumenical Prayer Service for all the martyrs of the faith.
In our world today the power of hatred and violence has been unleashed against men and women and children in too many places in every corner of the earth. Religious identity, ethnic and racial distinctiveness, and differing political views are used as a rationale for violence against civilians in a way that can never be justified by the logic of civility or conscience. Every instance of such violence must grieve our Creator.
Today I am particularly aware of the many, many Armenian Christians, who died in the midst of a campaign of genocide one hundred years ago. Yet, even in the face of such tragedy the courageous witness of the faithful persisted in heroic ways. May we be the heirs of their courage and their fidelity.
I come with humbleness to this gathering as we join our prayers with those of the saints and martyrs of every time and place, beseeching God for forgiveness, comfort and healing. May this gathering draw us together so that we never stand apart from any who suffer because of their religious convictions.
Having seen in this past century the worst that we humans can do to one another, may Christ, who was raised from death to life, show us what it means to live in the pattern of his grace and mercy and love. May the Spirit of the Risen Christ stir us to deeper unity in understanding, in service, and in vigilance against all violence, all hatred, all bigotry and all persecution of those made in the image of the Living God.
With the members of the Saint Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I commit myself and the church I serve to greater courage, greater acts of love and the hard work of reconciliation, trusting as the Apostle Paul has written, “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself … and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” (II Corinthians 5:19).
Yours in Christ’s service,
Bishop Patricia J. Lull