This past weekend, the People of the Book (or Ahl al-Kitāb)* celebrated an occasion of interfaith dialogue and cooperation experienced every 33 years! The rare overlap of Easter, Ramadan, and Passover presents the possibility of truthful and just unity on this shared religious journey.
The convergence of Passover, Easter, and Ramadan occurred alongside the Sikhs’ and Hindus’ Vaisakhi, the Jains’ Mahavir Jayanti, the Baha’i Festival of Ridvan, and the Theravada Buddhist New Year.
The diversity in our faiths, journeys, and identities unifies our humanity and joint fight to preserve everyone’s dignity.
Our Muslim brothers and sisters celebrate and honor Ramadan, 30-days of deep spiritual reflection, rejuvenation, gratitude, and giving during this month. As we uplift the joy and sacrifice of our community members, we must also do our part in supporting our neighbors, friends, colleagues, and comrades as it is also a time of holy fasting from sunrise to sunset!
Our Jewish brothers and sisters are counting the Omer, beginning on the second day of Pesach (the Passover) and ending on Shavuot. the fiftieth day afterwards. Shavuot is celebrated as the occasion of the giving of the Torah. While Passover is the beginning of the process of liberation, Shavuot, as a harvest celebration, becomes a celebration of the completion of the liberation process. We move from the mentality of slaves to the mindfulness of a free people.
Christians celebrate the Pentecost on the fiftieth day after Easter. The first 40 days after Easter Jesus spent on Earth before his Ascension. During these 40 days, Jesus prepared his disciples. The next 10 days are the observance of the time between Jesus' Ascension and the appearance of the Holy Spirit on the fiftieth day (Pentecost) after Easter.
Here’s how you can support our Muslim Brethren:
Be mindful of the workload of practicing Muslims this month. As allies, we must ask ourselves how to better support our colleagues during this time
Make space and grace for prayer times that may conflict with meetings or assignments. Prayer times vary by location, so ask to accommodate.
Respectfully acknowledge Ramadan in meetings and at events.
Learn about the connection between Islamophobia & anti-Blackness (anti-Africanness).
Don’t assume that someone is fasting.
Give to causes benefiting Muslim communities
This is a time for us all to reflect on how we can center Muslim communities. Ask yourself: How are Muslim communities impacted by the issues I stand in solidarity with? Are they visible in my work, or are they erased? How can I do more?
In Power and grace,
*Note -- People of the Book include the Abrahamic religions, traditionally Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Take the pressure off, simply ask for joy
If you’re more like me, where you see the cup as half empty and joy doesn’t come ‘naturally,’ you can ask for God to grant you joy. David prayed “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). Perhaps this can be your anchoring prayer during this festive season.
The video (link below - approx. 11 minutes) was shown at a February gathering of religious leaders and congregants in Grand Junction. It was followed by small group discussions related to diversity, racism, inclusion, and similar topics. The event brought many people closer together. It also gave people the opportunity to explore their own biases, beliefs, or welcoming nature. The video is entitled " GJ Inclusion ." It's a thoughtful presentation. Are we as welcoming as we declare to be? Let it begin with me. # # #
In our commitment as members of GVIN to fulfill its statements of Purpose… Cooperate in efforts that will serve the community as proponents of human dignity and agents of compassion in seeking to meet essential human needs; Offer opportunities for community worship, spiritual celebrations, shared learning activities, fellowship, and service; Exchange ideas and resources among members; Enrich our common ties around shared principles and hopes; and Demonstrate positive acceptance of religious diversity and share such information in the Grand Valley communities. … we have provided several short videos about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his sacred work to unite people in the 1960’s. In one interview he talks about needing a “revolution of values” in order for government leaders and the citizens of this country to find common ground. In many ways, what Dr. King describes then applies to today’s political and societal challenges…more than 50 years
Dear Hevre , ברוך אתה ה' אלוהינו חי העולמים מתיר אסורים. Barukh atah adonay eloheynu hay ha’olamim matir asurim. Blessed are you, THE REDEEMER, our God, Life of all the worlds, who frees the captives. – From the morning liturgy What a terrible irony that on Shabbat Shirah, as Jews around the world read about the Israelites’ liberation from slavery, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three other people were held hostage at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas in a standoff that lasted more than 11 hours. We breathe a sigh of relief that all the hostages were freed and are physically safe. We have tremendous gratitude for the myriad law enforcement officials who worked tirelessly and courageously toward this end, and to religious leaders and lay people from all traditions, especially many local and national Muslim leaders, who expressed their concern and solidarity throughout this ordeal. They brought to life the teaching of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.: The