This past Sunday, June 26th, some American churchgoers experienced something they may have never experienced before – someone of a different faith sharing their traditions with them during church. Not at all some sort of hostile takeover of America’s churches, this was instead the result of Faith Shared – a project coordinated by Interfaith Alliance, Human Rights First, and nearly 70 churches from diverse theological backgrounds across the country.
The idea was to have faith leaders of other faiths to come together. Focusing on the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Faith Shared gave Jews, Muslims and Christians a rare chance to try to overcome their differences by sharing readings from their own sacred texts. Examples of passages suggested were: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:4); “Jesus said . . . ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second one is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-39); and, “Correct and courteous words accompanied by forgiveness are better than a charitable deed followed by insulting words” (Qur’an 2:263).
In an era of increasing tensions between some Jews, Christians, and Muslims, the efforts of faith leaders and laity alike will be needed if more interfaith events like this are to take place – and events like this are going to need to continue to take place if Jews, Christians, and Muslims want to find a way to coexist in the twenty-first century.
For more information on Faith Shared, visit their website.