Building Community through Prayer

Tonight I was able to experience a "God moment."  I attended an event at a local Mosque and Islamic Center, organized collaboratively by the mosque and the Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center where I minister.  It's part of a series called "One God, Three Faiths: Building Community through Prayer."  This month we experienced Muslim prayer at the mosque.  Next month we'll have an opportunity to experience Jewish prayer at a synagogue. And in December we'll experience Advent prayer at a Catholic church. It's a pilgrimage of sorts.

I've had the opportunity to participate in a variety of Interfaith events.  Prayer services where each of the 3 Abraham traditions are present and some of their sacred texts are read.  Peace marches and vigils.  Speakers and evenings of dialogue.  They are all good efforts to bridge the divide and embrace our common human experience.

What was so special about tonight's event was that we were welcomed, incredibly graciously, by the Imam and the community members at the Mosque into their spiritual home.  They had baked delicious delights for us to enjoy.  The Imam shared his love for Islam--their beliefs, traditions and practices.  We had a chance to get to know each other.

Then we were invited upstairs, into the Mosque itself.  We left our shoes outside on shoe racks.  The women--Christian, Jewish, and Muslim--were invited to wear scarves as they entered the prayer space, so as to join in the prayer experience of Muslim women.  I was impressed with the respect which everyone gave to this aspect of the faith tradition.  It may not have been how most of us are accustomed to being dressed when we enter a prayer space, but it didn't feel contrived.  There was deep intention on the part of all gathered.

Our hosts shared their space, their home, their prayer, their movements, their love of God with us.  Some of us fumbled through the movements.  Others just sat and soaked it all in.  All were welcome, and participation at whatever level was ok.

One of my coworkers has been busily working to help set up all the details for the event.  I was simply there to be a helping hand, and to experience the evening.  It was a full house, a VERY full house--the response to this opportunity was overwhelming--and so I spent most of the time standing just outside the door.  This gave me such a wonderful perspective, to see all the people eager, open, welcoming or welcomed, praying together .  At one point I got a little teary eyed and thought, "God is good."

This is the way to peace, to harmony, to love and understanding.  One God, three faiths.  It truly felt as if we were building community through prayer.  I am so very much looking forward to the two next stops on this pilgrimage journey.

And God said, it was very good.

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