In the aftermath of another horrific shooting at a place of worship, people all over the country have answered the call by Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein to fill the temples from coast to coast and stand up to anti-Semitism. Rabbi Goldstein confronted the gunman who entered his synagogue in Poway, Calif. April 27 and was shot in both hands. One woman was killed and others injured.

He made a profound statement to all Americans when he said “no matter what religion you are, we’re here in America because God gave us a country that allows us to have religious freedom.”

In other recent hate crimes across the country, fires destroyed three predominantly black churches in 10 days in Louisiana. On April 4, a fire consumed the interior of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas. News photos showed smoke rising up through a gaping hole in the roof that had sheltered congregations for generations. Two days before, Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas burned to the ground. And on March 26, flames reduced St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre to just a few walls and piles of rubble.

In reflecting upon these hate crimes, I began to wonder if we’ve entered into another dark time in America’s history. Violence in our country has begun to smell like a cesspool as it did during the years of the Civil War. These dark days are upon us because of people who lack moral character.

Are the days gone when love trumped hate and all people were compelled to love their neighbor as they would themselves?  The answer was given to us more than 2,000 years ago when the Lord told us the story of the good Samaritan. America has dark places with haters but they can never replace the light of goodness and kindness. With the rise of anti-Semitism and racism and hate crimes with so many waged against places of worship, we need to identify places of peace and solitude that will allow us to reflect on our spirituality and the goodness of life to bring about balance to our lives.

Allow me to suggest ways to find solitude to regenerate yourself:

  • We need brief intervals each day to meditate on the goodness of life, creation, God or prayer.
  • We need to incorporate a few days or more out of our busy schedule each month and truly get away from it all.

Forced rest will come if you don’t purge your mind from the necessity to work constantly. So, don’t wait until God makes you lie down! Endeavor to live a balanced life. And Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

 

By Chaplain Ghosten
chaplain@lhp.net