The purpose of collecting God Sightings is to record some of the amazing ways God has blessed events
and people in our community of faith. Often times we plan for an event and God expands the reach.
These brief stories capture some of those moments of deepening our faith.
On Sunday, November 4, 2018, members of Prairie Lutheran Church responded to a national tragedy in Pittsburgh, PA. The weekend before, on Saturday morning, October
27, a gunman killed eleven people inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill
neighborhood. They were murdered because they were Jewish; another hate crime that
has become all too frequent in America.
After the conclusion of the worship services at PLC on Sunday, November 4, everyone was invited to write a note on a set ‘Sympathy Scrolls’ that were laid out on two conference tables in the lobby. Each scroll measured 8 by 2.5 feet. All along the edges of each scroll was written in Hebrew the Mourners Kaddish. These holy words are spoken as part of the Jewish mourning tradition. These liturgical words created a frame to the hundreds of messages that people wrote to the Tree of Life Synagogue. It was a simple expression of solidarity from one faith community to another. The message was clear. “We may be separated by geography. We will not be separated by hate.” Because of the busy activities of the morning, the tables were left out in the lobby. At 5:00 that evening a Girl Scout event was being held in the PLC sanctuary. When the young girls arrived the tables were still set up and needed to be moved out of the way. A local Girl Scout leader asked one of the new groups to help her move the tables aside.
When these girls approached the table they began to look at the scrolls and commented, “Who wrote these words in our own language?” It turns out this was a troop made up of Jewish girls and was their first time at a Girl Scout event, much less a church. They began to cry in appreciation and said, “Why would Christians write sympathy for Jews?!” Through tears, our leader explained that PLC was reaching out to the survivors of the Pgh synagogue. God began to heal the tragedy even before the scrolls were sent to their final destination! The following morning the scrolls were rolled up and sent to Pittsburgh.
‘Exalted and hallowed be God’s great name in the world which God created.’