The Warm Winds of Heaven

Last spring I blogged about a first of its kind gathering of Mennonites and Jews at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) called “Reading the Bible after the Holocaust.”  We covered topics ranging from New Testament scholarship, shared historic experience, the dangers of emphasizing common ground in dialogue, Mennonites and the Holocaust, and Israel and the land.   

Less than half a year later, members of Hamas crossed into southern Israel and slaughtered around 1200 people, taking another 250 hostage.  The ensuing war in Gaza has been devastating for Palestinians, the numbers of dead, displaced, and starving hard to fathom. 

Throughout our calls for a ceasefire in Gaza led by Mennonite Action, I’ve continued to think about these bonds formed at AMBS.  Dialogue and friendship in themselves can’t stop a war, but it can keep us all human to one another – a frequent casualty of war.  Last week we Mennonite participants from that event sent a letter to the Jewish participants that I’d like to share here.  Let’s pray with our hearts, hands, and relationships for the madness of this war to end and dignity, security, and a hopeful future be restored to all.    


To our Jewish friends who participated in the Reading the Bible after the Holocaust consultation at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary:

As we mark a half year since the October 7 Hamas attacks, we are holding you, your congregations, and all the Jewish people in our prayers. We recognize that the grief and agony of that day of terror which upended the lives of Israelis and Jews around the world continue to reverberate throughout the Jewish world up to today. The recognition that the safety and security of Jewish life is under threat compels us to recommit ourselves to confront antisemitism and to partner with you as we work together for a peaceful world.

A blessing from our Mennonite hymnal, Voices Together:

May the warm winds of heaven
blow softly upon you,
and may the Great Spirit
make Sunrise in your heart.