Holy Texts Holy Connections!
Recently I had the extraordinary experience of partnering with two colleagues, Imam Arqum Rashid from the Islamic Society of Central Delaware and the Reverend Vicky Starnes of Epworth UMC to bring a greater understanding of our holy texts to our congregations. Over 100 people of three faiths gathered at the Mosque in Dover for an afternoon of faith, fellowship and study. We began with song: Peace, Salaam, Shalom. After a short mixer each of the clergy leaders gave a brief history and background of their faith texts: Hebrew Bible (Torah) Christian Bible (New Testament) and Koran. Next, we handed out verses and study questions from these three holy books, based on the theme “humanity.” We asked everyone to break up into groups of three or four people, making sure that all faiths were represented in their hevruta (study groups). After 30 minutes we brought the group back to share their insights about the texts we had chosen to study. The results were beautiful. Many people shared their newfound understanding of our strong similarities and commonalities. The feeling in the room was electric as ideas and feelings flowed, bringing a sense of solidarity with the ideals and principals so vital to each of our faith communities: treating everyone as equals, loving our neighbor as ourself and defending the stranger. We ended the afternoon with song, food and social time, reveling in the empowerment and hope this program brought to all of us.
My prayer is that we continue to engage in dialogue with our neighbors to bring an end to the injustices we are experiencing surrounding the issues of immigration, inhumanity and inequality. We must make sure that every child, parent, human being is treated as we wish to be treated. “For we were once strangers in the land of Egypt.”