I sometimes share here the Thursday Thoughts my friend sends out to our congregation each week. Her thoughts are sometimes funny, sometimes serious...and almost always move me in one way or another, either leading me into reflection or into action...or both!
Her email this week contains particularly powerful and profound message:
As I sat in the living room this morning with my cup of coffee and listened to the news I felt a certain sense of shame. The main story was about the Christian community in the United States who have been planning a burn the Qu’ran event for this Saturday, the anniversary of 9/11. At that moment I could not help but wonder what this says to the world about Christianity and I felt like yelling that is not what Christ would want. Yet this is the picture of Christianity that gets front line news over and over again. While many of the world leaders, including Stephen Harper, have denounced this action I have yet to hear the voice of the many Christian communities who would find this appalling. An action such as the burning of the Qu’ran flies in the face of everything that we believe as followers of Christ. Such actions demean our faith and are not true to the gospel. Our sacred story is filled with images of acceptance, inclusion, love, compassion, justice and that is what we are to be about. It is our responsibility, as those who follow the Christ, to speak out against such acts of violence and until we do the only thing that is presented to the world is a very warped view of our faith. That anyone could use Christianity as a tool for hatred should cause us outrage! The Qu’ran is the sacred scripture of the Muslim people and within its pages there can be found amazing and wonderful teachings, not unlike what we read each week from our own. We are closely connected, although many do not want to admit it, through our shared story and the Power that makes us one. We are brothers and sisters.
My prayer this day is that the God who clothes creation in love might mend each rift and strengthen each seam, that threads of hope and strands of healing may be woven through our communities.
We are all brothers and sisters, regardless of religious or other beliefs...let us actively weave those "threads of hope and strands of healing" into our communities, and remember always to care for and support one another, and actively speak out against the actions of those who spew hate in the name of Christ and create deep rifts in the fabric of our world.
On a related note...I came across a UCCan document called "Mending the World: An Ecumenical Vision for Healing and Reconciliation" (there's a link to it on this page). The Prelude goes thus:
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel used to tell the story that when God, the Holy One, gets up in the morning, God gathers the angels of heaven around and asks this simple question: “Where does my creation need mending today?” And then Rabbi Heschel would continue, “Theology consists of worrying about what God worries about when God gets up in the morning.”
Margaret Atwood writes, “The facts of this world seen clearly are seen through tears; why tell me then there is something wrong with my eyes?”
“As [Jesus] came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!’” (Luke 19)
We hold the conviction that the world is at the centre of God’s concern. In the words of the Psalmist, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it, the world and they who dwell therein.” (24:1) The world is at risk because there are those who, refusing to see through tears, seek dominion and use the instruments of military, economic, political and cultural power to that end. God, who sees clearly through tears, is grieved by the estrangement of God’s children from one another and from the created order. God works, at the beginning of the day as at the end, for the mending of creation.
Life in the “whole inhabited earth” (oikoumene) is life in relationship. We are bound up with one another and with the world of nature—not just our kinfolk, or our kind.
We are thus led to speak of “whole world ecumenism,” naming the search for justice for God’s creatures and healing for God’s creation as the church’s first priority, and joining with other persons of good will in the search for justice, wholeness and love.
Our passion for the transformation of the world is rooted in our relationship to God in Jesus Christ. God, who is absolute love, mercy and justice, yearns for mending of creation, calling us to see the world through God’s tears, and to bend ourselves as church to the task of “worrying about what God worries about when God gets up in the morning.”
Today I am deeply grateful for those who speak out with love and compassion, who promote peace and justice and wholeness, who shine a blazing light amidst the darkness of those who use Christianity as a weapon.