Build a World Where Love is Lived
It was a regular morning one week near the end of November. I opened up my email to do my morning check in and was greeted with an invitation to join a group of people from a variety of faith traditions to talk about Interfaith Harmony Week. A sense of joy leapt within me and, immediately, I responded with a resounding yes! That marked the beginning of a journey which led to the formation of the Cobequid Interfaith Council and the planning of events for Interfaith Harmony Week February 2nd to the 9th.
Amazing Things Can Happen
So often we are wrapped up in our own little world and in our own chosen path that we forget that there are others who share in the same dreams for peace and justice, love and harmony but whose pathway is different. Sometimes this differentness leads to misunderstandings, fear, hatred and violence. We see this evidenced daily in the world around us. And how sad that is! We do not often take the time to listen to the other, hear their stories of faith and faithfulness, or learn from one another but when we do, amazing things can happen. What I have come to discover is that opening oneself to other faith traditions does not weaken your own. Rather, the opposite happens – your own tradition is enhanced and strengthened. The other thing that becomes glaringly obvious is that we have so much in common and share many of the same kinds of rituals. We are a spider network of humanity connected by our common concern for creation. Interfaith Harmony Week is about celebrating our diversity, creating community and engaging our faith.
Around the table sat people from many traditions – Ba’hi, Quaker, Taoist, Islam, Christian, Buddhist, Pagan – each of us shared why we said yes to this invitation and what our hopes were for this Council. Without exception, we named the desire to learn from one another, to share our common dream for peace and love of neighbour, and to engage our community. Once our planning for the week was concluded the question was asked:
“What now? Do we continue to meet as a Council?”
The response was that we need to continue and that perhaps we could do things other than Interfaith Harmony week. Each person seemed to become more and more animated as we shouted out the possibilities from picnic in the park during the summer to coming together for some of our other common celebrations and rituals.
Build a World Where Love is Lived
To live out the gospel, revealed to us in Jesus of Nazareth, we must open ourselves to one another and live our love every day. This is a clear mandate for us, shared in many ways by the ancestors.
And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
The message you heard from the very beginning is this: we must love one another. (1 John 3:11)
Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbours as you love yourself. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)
Be under obligation to no one—the only obligation you have is to love one another. Whoever does this has obeyed the Law. (Romans 13:8)
My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. (1 John 3:18)
Do all your work in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14)
Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. (Ephesians 4:2-3)
Along with the call to love, Paul, reminds us that we are all part of the same body and each one is important, valued and needed to make the body whole. May we tend to the whole body, gain strength in our diversity, and build a world where love is lived.
May it be so.
© 2020 Rev. Valerie Peyton Kingsbury. All rights reserved