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Dear President Trump:

My wife and I lived in the Middle East for six years. One of the organizations we were most impressed with was Zochrot – the Hebrew word for “remembering.”  Since 2002, Zochrot has worked “to promote acknowledgement and accountability for the ongoing injustices of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948.” Zochrot seeks to redress the harms of the past to ensure “a better life for all the country’s inhabitants” – Israelis and Palestinians.

In the United States, the Kellogg Foundation has launched the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) enterprise as a way of truthfully remembering our nation’s past so that we, too, can share a better future together as Native Americans, African-Americans and immigrants from Europe and other places. I encourage you to invite La June Montgomery Tabron, President and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation, and Gail Christopher, Kellogg’s Vice-President who heads up the TRHT, to the White House for a meal and conversation. You will find their vision to be compelling and consistent with what it means to be a truly great nation.

The Daily Lectionary readings today focus on remembering.  When the people are afraid, Moses tells them, “Just remember what the LORD your God did …the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the LORD your God brought you out.” (Deut. 7:18-19) The psalmist reflects, “I remember the days of old, I think about all your deeds, I meditate on the works of your hands.” (Psalm 143:5) Hope for the future comes from remembering God’s faithfulness in the past. And Paul instructs Titus to remind the people “to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone” (Titus 3:1-2) because of what God has done for them.

Truthfully remembering the past is the first step toward healing justice – the only foundation upon which great nations are built.


J. Daryl Byler