Dear Friends,

Religious harmony leads to harmony and peace between peoples world-wide. That is the premise of the United Nation General Assembly resolution (October 15, 2010) declaring the first week of February every year World Interfaith Harmony Week. It states:

“Recognizing the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions in enhancing mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among all people, Recognizing that the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and beliefs call for peace, tolerance and mutual understanding, Reaffirms that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace;

Proclaims the first week of February of every year the World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs;

Encourages all states to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week, based on love of God and love of one’s neighbor or on love of the good and love of one’s neighbor, each according to their own religious traditions or convictions.”  

In his first World Day of Peace speech delivered on January 1st, Pope Francis echoes this theme in stating: "A conversion of hearts is needed which would permit everyone to recognize in the other a brother or sister to care for, and to work together with, in building a fulfilling life for all." Centuries-long antagonisms based on tribal and religious differences will not disappear because of a treaty or aid program. Conversion of hearts is essential. This requires dialogue aimed at mutual understanding and respect.

A “conversion of hearts” begins with an awareness, appreciation of and respect for diverse beliefs and practices. In an effort to further our understanding of various religious perspectives, we have chosen short prayers from seven of the world religions to accompany today’s Christian Gospel reading of the Beatitudes. We hope that you join us in finding inspiration in these sacred words.

  • Traditional African Reading:  Almighty God, the Great Thumb, we cannot evade to tie any knot; the Roaring Thunder that splits mighty trees: the all-seeing Lord up on high who sees even the footprints of an antelope on a rock mass here on Earth. You are the one who does not hesitate to respond to our call. You are the cornerstone of peace.
  • Native American Reading:  O Great Spirit of our Ancestors, I raise my pipe to you. To your messengers the four winds, and to Mother Earth, who provides for your children. Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love, to respect, and to be kind to each other so that they may grow with peace in mind. Let us learn to share all good things that you provide for us on this Earth.
  • Baha’i Reading: Be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness, and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew upon the soil of the human heart, and a fruit upon the tree of humility.
  • Buddhist Reading:  May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind quickly be freed from their illnesses. May those frightened cease to be afraid, and may those bound be free. May the powerless find power, and may people think of befriending one another. May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wilderness—the children, the aged, the unprotected—be guarded by beneficent celestials, and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.
  • Jewish Reading:  Come let us go up the mountain of the Lord, that we may walk the paths of the Most High. And we shall beat our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation—neither shall they learn war any more. And none shall be afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken.
  • Muslim Reading:  In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful. Praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations, that we may know each other, not that we may despise each other. If the enemy incline towards peace, do thou also incline towards peace, and trust God, for the Lord is the one that heareth and knoweth all things. And the servants of God, Most Gracious are those who walk on the Earth in humility, and when we address them, we say "PEACE.”
  • Sufi Reading: Send Thy peace O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting, that our souls may radiate peace. Send Thy peace O Lord, that we 
may think, act and speak harmoniously. Send Thy peace O Lord, that we may be contented and thankful for Thy bountiful gifts. Send Thy peace O Lord, that amidst our worldly strife, we may enjoy Thy bliss. Send Thy peace O Lord, that we may endure all, tolerate all, in the thought of Thy grace and mercy. Send Thy peace O Lord, that our lives may become a Divine vision and in Thy light, all darkness may vanish. Send Thy peace O Lord, our Father and Mother, that we Thy children on Earth may all unite in one family.

Invocation: Let the water wash away the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds nurtured over generations. May it melt the memory of our own pain. Let our hearts, nourished by the water of life, blossom in beauty. Our world awaits the water that each of us can bring.

Invocation: Let light fill the sky. Let its warmth heal us wherever we are broken. Let it burn away the fog so that we can see each other clearly. Let our selfishness vanish so we can see all people as our neighbors, as part of our family. Let the flames teach our hearts to reach always upward to heaven. Our world awaits the light that each of us can bring.

At The Spirit of Life, we are seek to learn from Wisdom wherever She shows herself in world religions and in prophetic poets so as to nourish God’s love and call in each of our lives. We invite you to come and experience life in our community as we contemplate in prayer and move with justice at The Spirit of Life. Through our time of prayer and sharing together, we work together to grow in our self-understanding and in our relationships with God and with God’s people. We celebrate the gift of our faith and the responsibility that is ours as followers of Jesus Christ.  It is our prayer that what we as a community experience in our praying together will overflow into the rest of our lives, making us more fully human and more ‘whole’….holy!  We invite you to join us in this endeavor and journey with us as we seek to grow in our love of God and to grow in our capacity to be living expressions of God’s loving peace and justice in our world.

May you be blessed with the gift of finding the extraordinary love of Christ in the work of your lives.

Ron & Jean