Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday Thoughts on Friday's Prayers at the National Cathedral

My first visit to the National Cathedral in Washington DC was a high school youth group trip in the '70s while the massive house of stone and light was still under construction. I've returned many times over the years and never fail to be moved by the beauty, power and energy of this place of worship in the center of our nation's capital -- a place which defines itself as a "house of prayer for all people."

Due to the marvels of modern technology, on Friday morning I was able to sit in my living room in Southern California and watch the livestream of the service of Muslim Friday Prayers (Jumu'ah) from that very National Cathedral in a service that emphasized the "all" in "all people."

You can read the rest here ... in the blog I posted to the Huffington Post yesterday. (And of course I hope you will.)

But in this platform I want to share a comment on Facebook in response to that blog. A reader wrote:
The Rev. Susan Russell offers some excellent insights about today's Muslim prayer service at Washington National Cathedral. Katie and I listened to the entire program this evening together on the Cathedral's website and were amazed by the remarks by the Dean, the Cathedral Canon, and the leaders in the Muslim Community.

I learned so much that I didn't know about our brothers and sisters in the Muslim Community. These peaceful people of prayer stood in the Cathedral and condemned terrorism and called for the protection of the religious freedom of Christians in the Middle East. There are Muslims who have helped to rebuild churches that have been destroyed by terrorists. I quickly learned in listening to their talks that there is nothing to be afraid of and I was able to lay some of my own personal biases to rest.

Those who were so against opening the Cathedral to the Muslim community could have really benefited from taking the time to listen to what our brothers and sisters have to say. Part of the problem with society is that nobody seems to want to listen to people who look or believe differently than they do. You don't have to agree with the other person, but you can learn by listening and offer hospitality while still standing confident in your own tradition. Love is the opposite of fear. Let us all choose love.
And that -- my friends -- is why we do what we do. An inch at a time.

1 comment:

Alla Renée Bozarth said...

Oh, Thank You, Susan Russell, for articulating what has been on my mind and in my heart! Alla Bozarth, Sandy, Oregon.