Day 3: “Praying Together in Jerusalem”

Posted on Feb 19, 2017

Two Major Events Today

Before lunch we gathered as a group: members of the Abrahamic Reunion Board in Israel and us travelers, some of whom are also on the board. Many of us had met previously in Utah at the Parliament of World Religions.

A collection of dedicated souls, in some cases who risk all, working toward Peace. After lunch the board meeting began. Feeling sleepy, I excused myself to catch up on a little work. Got into a discussion with Stephen Longfellow Fiske – a Unitarian Universalist minister, poet, musician and great nephew of Henry Wordsworth Longfellow. He created a “portal” for musicians, artists, filmmakers and activists to come together for Peace.

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”

~ Rachel Carson, Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel

A filmmaker, he documented the evening event. At this gathering of about 300 Muslims, Jews and Christians, we shared an evocative and heartfelt evening. Spoken in three languages, English, Arabic and Hebrew, the presenters launched the evening with this sentiment –

“You are my mirror, in you I see myself.”

Sheikh Ghassan Manasra, Abrahamic Reunion International Executive Director

Abrahamic Reunion Praying together in JerusalemWe simultaneously prayed together by dividing into 4 groups and self-selecting with which group we wanted to pray: Jewish, Muslim, Christian and silent meditation, each focused on Peace.

Following that, we formed mixed groups of about 10 people to discuss the concept of “Constructive Conflict.” A society that cannot discuss conflict in a constructive way can never have peace. We focused on the questions,

 

  • How can we disagree constructively?

    Abrahamic Reunion Constructive Conflict

    Exploring Texts on Constructive Conflict

  • What can we learn from our traditions?

In Judaism, we explored the phrase “disagreement for the sake of heaven” – not for egoistic purposes, but genuine differences: being receptive to the other’s party’s opinion, maintaining benevolent feelings, and exhibiting goodwill towards the other.

For Islam, we discussed the Ethics of Disagreement, wherein the search for truth and correct judgement is the mutual endeavor. Christianity presented a Biblical view of conflict – disagreement as the result of God-given diversity and personal preferences.

It is not the details that matter, but rather the environment of openness, friendship and respect. Many put themselves at risk with their communities by coming.

Abrahamic Reunion Praying Together in Jerusalem

Closing Prayer

One story I will share with you now is about a Muslim Professor D’Ajani who took a group of students from Israel to Germany to visit Auschwitz. When he returned, his car was firebombed and he was dismissed from his teaching post because he was “improperly influencing the minds of his students.” This gentle and brave soul comes from a family lineage that accepts all 3 religions – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim – as equal and necessary for G’d’s message on earth.

You can stay in touch with these monthly Multi-Faith Prayers in Jerusalem by visiting them on Facebook – “Praying Together in Jerusalem

 

One Comment

  1. Thank you for posting your experiences in the Holy Land. The work of the Abrahamic Reunion is truly inspiring. All blessings to you and to their work.
    Love, Suhrawardi

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