Last Thursday”s gathering, “Fasting & Feasting Together: A Family Reunion of Abraham”s Children,” was a wonderful time together. Nearly 250 people gathered at the Circle of Palms to meet one another and together break the fast. A brief service began with the ringing of the bells at St. Joseph”s Cathedral nearby, the sounding of the Shofar, and the Muslim call to prayer. We then began with these words from Psalm 133 (Hebrew, then English) and the Qur”an 3.103-5 (Arabic and English):
Behold, how good and pleasant it iswhen brothers dwell in unity!It is like the precious oil upon the head,running down upon the beard,upon the beard of Aaron,running down on the collar of his robes!It is like the dew of Hermon,which falls on the mountains of Zion!For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,life for evermore.
Let there arise out of you one community, inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: those will be prosperous. Be not be like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving clear signs: for them is a dreadful penalty.
As I looked around the crowd, which had formed itself into a circle without any prompting, I was impressed at the diversity there– old, young, men, women, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant. The Police Chief of San Jose was there, the Mayor of Milpitas, students from Notre Dame High School, children in strollers. Every time there was a break, intent conversations were underway and new relationships were forged.This was the first gathering of its kind in our community; we pray that it will not be the last. Take a look at the Southbay Interfaith website for photos, and for a way to sign up for notices of future interfaith opportunities in our area.