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Reflection from three faiths

Interfaith Prayer meeting on 20th Anniversary of 9/11 Events 

The sharing of prayers and reflections was a gathering of the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews (ANDCMJ) led by Liz Stone, NCCA; Dr Amin Hady, Muslims Australia/AFIC; and Jeremy Jones, ECAJ. A selection that speaks to our times is shared with you.

From Rabbi David Freeman:

Our prayer meeting this evening takes place between the two peaks of Jewish spirituality - Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).  These days are quite different from our other festivals that recall specific historical events in Jewish history, such as Passover (the Exodus from Egypt) and Pentecost (the Revelation of God’s commandments at Mount Sinai) to give but two examples.  Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by contrast have a universal significance – they represent the challenge facing all humanity to live a good life in the presence of God and our fellow human beings.  As such they have a penitential flavour and consequently we approach our neighbours and our God for forgiveness during this season.  Traditionally, each morning and evening in our daily prayers we recite Psalm 27 which is considered a penitential psalm.  The blowing of the Shofar or ram’s horn acts as a reminder to return to righteous living.  The notes we blow are considered a prayer for forgiveness.

Psalm 27

Of David.

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—

    whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

    of whom shall I be afraid?

 2 When the wicked advance against me

    to devour me,

it is my enemies and my foes

    who will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,

    my heart will not fear;

though war break out against me,

    even then I will be confident.

 4 One thing I ask from the Lord,

    this only do I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

    all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the Lord

    and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble

    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;

he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent

    and set me high upon a rock.

 6 Then my head will be exalted

    above the enemies who surround me;

at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;

    I will sing and make music to the Lord.

 7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;

    be merciful to me and answer me.

 

From Sr Trish Madigan OP:

1 Corinthians 13: 4-13

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. …….. 

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became fully mature, I put the ways of childhood behind me…… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

These words from the teaching of St Paul from the Christian scriptures may seem naïve today in the context of the anniversary we are remembering. They may seem unrealistic, beyond the capacity of human understanding, and unachievable. 

And yet perhaps in our own experience, there may have been times that we have known the power of love which has changed us, and those around us. 

At least we have plenty of examples to see that one wrong responded to with another wrong simply adds to a cycle of violence that has no end. 

It takes great courage, great compassion, and great strength - it takes spiritual maturity – to discern a cycle of violence which is occurring around us and to try to disrupt it with peaceful and loving responses. But perhaps this is what God is asking of us all at this particular time of world history.

We have an unprecedented technical capacity for violence and destruction in our present age. How can we open ourselves to the love of a merciful God who created us to live and flourish in a world of peace and harmony?  

 

From Imam Dr Amin Hady, Sydney Representing Islamic Faith: 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. 

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the earth and all between them, and of the whole universe. You alone we worship, and to You alone we seek for help and guidance 

Our Lord, Your love and mercy enshrine all Your creatures. You are our Protector and You are our Sustainer. 

Strengthen our faith and compassion, and we humbly beseech Your forgiveness and protection. Unite our hearts so that we may feel the close relationship between us. 

May we be instruments of unity, within our individual communities and between our diverse Australian multicultural and multi-faith society 

May we be inspired by divine wisdom, as we navigate and guide our faiths and our faithful 

Our Lord, while remembering the tragic event of 9/11/2000 we are humbly seeking Your forgiveness and Your guidance 

Keep us good our Lord under the shadow of your mercy 

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful and lift all who are affected, that may rejoice in your comfort 

Our Lord, In this uneasy time of our life, where peace, justice and prosperity seem to be values that all of humanity still have to work hard to achieve, we are coming to You O God, spreading our hands, seeking Your guidance and assistance. 

While the world is suffering from this pandemic of covid-19, we ask your Protection and Intercession, that those who are affected be relieved of their burden, and that You protect all of humanity from this miserable life. 

“Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or made a mistake, Our Lord, lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us, Our Lord, burden us not, with that which we have no ability to bear.” (The Qur’an 2:286). 

O Allah, we submit ourselves unto You, 

We entrust our affairs unto You, we turn our face towards You 

And we totally rely on You, in hope and mercy from You

Verily there is no refuge, nor haven from You, except with You. 

Our Lord, grant us the best in This Life and best in The Hereafter. 

Ameen 

---The End ---

 

From Elizabeth Stone, NCCA General Secretary

The prayer I have chosen for tonight is the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi. It speaks both to our memorial tonight and to the current Season of Creation that we are marking in the Christian Churches, a season that commenced on 1 September and finishes on the feast day of St Francis on 4 October. And this year the Season leads into the UN’s global climate talks in Glasgow in November so is a season of great prayer for all of God’s creation now and in the future. I also note that St Francis was a great inter-faith emissary having engaged in peace-making dialogues with the Muslim Sultan of his time.

So let us pray the Prayer of St Francis –

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

where there is hatred let me sow love,

where there is injury let me sow pardon,

where there is doubt let me sow faith,

where there is despair let me sow hope,

where there is darkness let me give light

where there is sadness let me give joy.

O divine master, grant that I may

not try to be comforted but to comfort,

not try to be understood as to understand,

not try to be loved but to love. 

For it is in giving that we receive,

it is in forgiving that we are forgiven

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

 

From Zubeda Raihman, President Muslim Women's National Network of Australia, Inc. (MWNNA) 

My peace prayer:

In Arabic: Bismillah Hir Rahman ni Raheem 

Allahumma antas salaam wa minkassalaam wa ilaika yarjessalam, 

hayyena rabbana bissalaame wa'adkhilna darasalame tabarakta rabbana wa ta'alaita ya zaljalali-i-walikram,  

 

Translation: In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful

O Allah! You are peace personified; You are source of Peace for all creatures. O Creator and Sustainer keep us alive with peace, and let us enter the House of peace.

O Lord, O possessor of awe and honour, You are Sublime and Bounteous.

 

Sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) As narrated by Muslim:

You will not enter Paradise until you believe,

and you will not believe until you love one another,

and you will not love one another until you promote peace among you.

 

A Prayer from (Sr) Cheryl Camp RSM.

Oh Divine Being, Creating Spirit,

essence of peace, harmony and love,

You have made us in your own image

and gifted us with the capacity to live together as one human family,

blessed with differences that enrich our lives.

We pray for Your blessing of peace

as we commemorate those who die

when your human family fails to be those whom You wish us to be.

We place ourselves in Your hands,

Amen.

 

From Felicity McCallum, NCCA’s First Nations Adviser

As an Awabakaleen an Indigenous Australian and Celtic, I would like to share with you from my traditions. First with an acknowledgement of the ancestors:

Bo wiyeaka kakillko Awabakal, kakillko Ngunnawal, ngambri and Australia

The ancestors in our Indigenous communities are the Seers, the poets, the ones who see through and like medicine their stories heal our relationships and tell us how to live in freedom, peace and vitality. 

One of my other traditions, or a tradition that has influenced my teaching vocation most strongly is the Marist one, and so I offer the following reading which speaks of mystics, just like old Ones who are the Seers, who guide us at these times such as the 20th anniversary of 9/11:

From: Water From the Rock, Marist Spirituality - Flowing in the tradition of Marcellin Champagnat, (June 2007)

The Holy Spirit will come upon you

Todays’ world deeply needs men and women who are mystics – people who are able to touch the mystery of all life, in an attitude of openness and surrender. Having experienced the love of God, they are witnesses of light among their fellow pilgrims, inspiring them to seek God.

The mystic believes that the Holy Spirit is always present and at work in the world. The Spirit gives meaning to life and our participation in the mission of God.

As mystics we perceive “the footprints of God” in all the events of life.  Through a reading of our reality in faith, we are taken beyond appearances and surface meanings, and brought into the depths of each situation…

To welcome God in this way, we need to develop an attitude of openness. With God’s help we grow into being an attentive listener to life, reflective and perceptive when reviewing the events of our life, and generous in responding to the invitations of the Spirit contained within the substance of our days.

Amen. 

Thank you to all of our Muslim, Jewish and Christian friends who participated in the prayer meeting.

 

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