“Stand against antisemitism,” leaders call ahead of Holy Week

March 21, 2024

At Assembly last July, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada reaffirmed and expanded upon the commitments of our churches to resolutely oppose antisemitism in all its forms. At that time, we could not foresee how quickly and brutally antisemitism would rise, beginning with the horrific attacks by Hamas on Israeli kibbutzim near the Gaza border. It has since reached into communities around the world, as polarization concerning the response of the state of Israel has incited fear, vandalism and hate speech against Jews.

The Jewish people have been targets of hate and violence for centuries, often aided by distorted biblical interpretations and theological positions that blame the death of Jesus Christ on the Jewish community or advocate the replacement of the Covenant with Israel with the arrival of the Church. Both our churches have strong resolutions condemning antisemitism. We also encourage biblical interpretations that reflect the continuing covenants of God with the Jewish people and reflect theologically on the roots of human frailty woven through the whole story of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

The crucifixion of Jesus cannot be blamed on any one group of people. We all share in the human sin epitomized in that story. Yet for centuries some Christians have irresponsibly and wrongly chosen to scapegoat Jews, leading to terrible acts of violence and dehumanization, including the Holocaust.

As we enter Holy Week and walk with Jesus, let us remember that Jesus, a Jew, never rejected his own community. He sought to live fully into the law of Moses and the prophets through love. Words or actions of hatred, discrimination, prejudice or violence against Jews are offences against fellow children of God and siblings of Jesus. They cannot be tolerated.

We must stand against antisemitism whenever we hear or see it. We stand in solidarity with Jewish people around the world who desire to live in safety and security without fear, as do all people.

[signed] +Susan C Johnson
Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

[signed] +Linda Nicholls
The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop & Primate,
Anglican Church of Canada

See also:

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”