Choose Love

In recent days, I find myself once again grieving for people I’ve never met, people whose lives were suddenly shattered with violence, people in public places, people praying, people believing they were safe in their daily lives.

Often when this happens, I do not know what to do. I wish for someone to blame.

In reality, there are so many  who share the blame, including me, maybe even including you. I have been shocked by the way we all participate in the ramped up rhetoric that has become the norm in our country.

For some reason we all have let it get to this point.

Last night, my husband and I attended a Service of Memorial, Healing and Resilience Standing with the Tree of Life at Congregation Beth Israel in our area. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker is our friend and community partner.

We each ended up saying a word on behalf of our whole community along with city officials, fire and police officials and  leaders representing ALL faiths.

My husband spoke representing the 1800 employees of the school district and the 13,500 children in his district that speak 59 different languages at home.

I tried my best to represent Christianity as a clergyperson. In the end all I could say was “My heart breaks with yours. With you, I pray for peace. We stand together.”

The service was a beautiful mix of traditional Jewish ritual, song and prayers.

I love this acrostic prayer that spells out Tree of Life, Pittsburgh, Tree of Life written by Aiden Solovy, Liturgist.

Tree of Life.

Revive our souls.

Enrich our days.

Entreating Your blessings.

Oh, God of Peace.

Fill our hearts with comfort.

Letting Your Torah shine.

In the fullness of our love.

Faith in You, our God.

Eternal Source of blessings.

Praying for healing

in the depths of despair.

Thanking God for the survivors,

Thanking God for the first responders,

Sorrow crushing our hearts,

Bereaved beyond belief,

United in our love,

Returning to You in faith,

God of Israel,

Healer of generations.

Tree of life,

Redeemer of Israel,

Enliven this moment with healing,

Enliven this moment with hope.

Oh, Rock of Israel,

Forget not the Jews of Pittsburgh.

Let Your love flow

In the days ahead

For justice and peace


If you, like me, don’t know what to do, instead of adding to the hate and blame, pray this prayer. Choose love. We stand together.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mocha/Mimosa to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor. 

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