Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us!
Four of us from Hillsdale United Methodist Church joined the overflow gathering of local Muslims, Jews, and Christians in a service that recalled Passages of Peace from the Quran 49:13, the Genesis Rabbah 24:7, and the Gospel of Matthew 5:3-9. The texts reminded us that we are all made in the image of God, and we are all related to each other as God’s children, and even the least among us is blessed, and that we must care for each other as we would ourselves – as we would care for God.
We sang songs from all faith traditions. We sang the American folk song “This Land is Your Land”. We shared an extended moment of passing the peace by leaving our seats to greet people we did not know, introducing ourselves and offering a hand in friendship. We were encouraged to share our contact information and to stay engaged with each other, after the event. I am hoping that our Youth Group will connect with the Muslim Youth Group in Midland Park.
And we lit the 8th Chanukah candle with the command to bring the light of God’s love for all God’s children into the world.
A local TV crew and journalists were there to film and interview us. You can view this short clip at: http://pix11.com/2015/12/13/interfaith-service-held-at-nj-temple-to-build-religious-wall-against-hate/
I ask this of you, my beloved congregation at Hillsdale United Methodist Church, and all those who read this blog: Do not let hate and fear prevent you from being true to your faith. We Christians must be Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus faced his enemies without fear. He stood firm in his understanding that we are all God’s children, even as he was betrayed with a kiss. It is not easy to follow Jesus. It is not easy to be a disciple. But today, more than ever, we must hold on to our faith and care for those who are in need. Today, more than ever, we must trust God and bestow love and mercy on ALL – even those we perceive as our enemies. All people of other faiths are not our enemies. People who murder and kill indiscriminately, no matter what faith they profess, are our enemies. We must stand for Justice for all people. We must be brave enough to embrace God’s love for all God’s children.
“Oseh Shalom” May the One who makes peace in the heavens descend on us, and the world will say ‘Amen’.
Please continue to pray for us in the role of Public Theology Advocate as we take a stand for justice. Respond to this blog, or contact me directly, with your thoughts, ideas, and concerns about social justice in the Pascack Valley region.
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15