From our Clergy Associate Tim Dyer:
I am pleased to announce that a date has been set for a fifth event for The Children of Abraham Project. On September 12, 2015 starting at 2pm Trinity will be hosting its first Children of Abraham event. Some people may be familiar with this interfaith project from past events. For those that are not familiar, let me please explain what The Children of Abraham is all about.
This interfaith initiative actually started to be developed in summer of 2011, and the first event was in October of 2012. That summer I was on a break from my studies, and I was reading over our Baptismal Covenant. While each question struck a cord with me, there were two that particularly stood out. Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? I wondered if I was living into the vows as well as I could be.
As I considered the first question I asked myself how I was seeking and serving Christ in all persons and loving my neighbor as myself? What if that person was a different faith? What if they were a Sikh, a Hindu, a Buddhist, A Muslim, or a Jew? How was I to seek and serve Christ in someone that was not a Christian?
When I considered the second question I had to ask myself; how was I striving for justice and peace among all people and how was I respecting the dignity of every human being? What was I doing? If I was silent when others were being tried in society’s judgmental court, was that fulfilling my vow? Did my silence make me as guilty as the accusers who were passing judgment?
To answers these questions, I felt that I must first define what is the basic essence of God. No matter what word I used to describe God, they all seemed to stem from one word; love. The basic essence of God is love. Jesus loved the most reviled people of his time because God loves all people regardless of how we humans segregate ourselves.
Through my biblical studies, my college courses, a lot of prayer and discernment I determined an answer to the first question I had; how do I seek and serve Christ in someone that is not a Christian? I determined that when I look into the eyes of a stranger and see there the same love that is in my heart, then I am looking into the eyes of a brother or sister. It is in serving that love, that I serve Christ; regardless ethnicity or religious beliefs.
Now I had to answer my second question of how do I strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
While pondering the answer for the second question, I couldn’t help but notice that the news reports were full of stories about the villainous Muslims. The portrait that was painted was that Muslims were all AK47 toting maniacs who wanted to kill everyone. I also saw news reports about Israel and Palestine and the warring factions there. One group would violently strike out against subjugation and the other would retaliate with even more violence. The constant stream of these stories was shaping the opinions of the people who viewed them. It seemed that it was the most violent and radical people who were putting a face to these cultures and religions. Just because someone puts on the mask of a religion doesn’t mean that they are an actual representation of that religion. There are many people who call themselves Christians that I would not want representing me and my beliefs. I couldn’t believe that these violent portrayals were actual representations of the common person.
It was the common, everyday person who was being tried in the courts of society for the actions of a minority of people who were claiming their faith. No one was giving these people a voice. I now knew how I could further live into my baptismal vows. The Children of Abraham Project was developed. This initiative is designed to bring Judaism, Islam, and Christianity together in open and honest dialogue to discuss their differences and celebrate their similarities. It is our hope that in offering this event to our community that we may bring change and reconciliation to the world – one mind, one heart at a time. Racism, prejudice, and violence are all-too-common in our society. Finding love and peace within our communities cannot be successful without each of working together to counteract hatred, injustice and the stereotypical images that permeate our society.
Please mark your calendars for September 12 at 2pm and join together in spreading God’s love. There is no cost to attend this event. Veggie trays and bottled water will be provided. There will be a question and answer session so please bring any and all questions you may have. I hope to see you there!