In a May 2 statement  to ELCA members, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson urged remembrance of those who have died because of Bin Laden’s choices “of hatred and violence” and those who continue to mourn their loss.  He also reminded us of our Easter focus on God’s new life, love of neighbor and the restoration of human community as the Christian vocation in life.  Here is the full text of the statement:

Sisters and brothers in Christ,

The death of Osama bin Laden is an occasion for solemn remembrance. We remember the lives of all whose deaths resulted from his choosing hatred and violence. We stand with those who continue to mourn the death of loved ones while giving thanks for their lives, their love and their faith. We also continue to hold in prayer all whose service in the military, in government and in humanitarian and peacemaking activities contribute to a safer and more prosperous world.

At the same time we also recall who we are: people baptized into Christ, freed to serve our neighbors. We are people called as Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation with our neighbors, serving God’s work of restoring community. We engage our neighbors of other faiths, including our Muslim neighbors near and far, in respectful, searching dialogue and shared commitment to build a world that reflects God’s will for peace with justice. We pray for our neighbors, even those who are our enemies.

Most of all, in these 50 days of celebrating Christ’s resurrection, joy finds its fullest and deepest expression not over a human death but in God’s promise to unite all things in heaven and on earth, to reconcile the human family and to bring God’s reign of peace. Confident in what God has promised, we witness our resolve against any act of violence in the name of religion and our renewed commitment of service to the neighbors and world God so deeply loves.

In God’s grace,

Mark S. Hanson

Questions: What impact do you see this situation having on the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and within the wider region of the Middle East? How will it affect the United State’s role and image in the peace process?