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Friday, December 8, 2017

Interfaith friendship

Sometimes synchronicities are really amazing. This Advent I am participating in a retreat via Abbey of the Arts. The theme throughout Advent is the life of Mary, mother of Jesus. I also get the daily reflections from Richard Rohr. Rohr's theme currently is Interfaith Friendship. Now for the synchronicity!
On the same day ... a quote from Rohr's meditation (first quoting Brian McLaren, then Rohr's words.)
"We need] a Christian identity that is both strong and kind. By strong I mean vigorous, vital, durable, motivating, faithful, attractive, and defining. . . . By kind I mean something far more robust than mere tolerance, political correctness, or coexistence: I mean benevolent, hospitable, accepting, interested, and loving, so that the stronger our Christian faith, the more goodwill we will feel and show toward those of other faiths, seeking to understand and appreciate their religion from their point of view. 
—Brian McLaren (bold mine)
How can we learn to draw from the deep aquifer, the common Source of Love for all religions, without denying the goodness of our own small spring? This is the marriage of unity and diversity."

And from the Advent retreat a reflection on how Mary is important in the Muslim tradition too. A whole chapter is devoted to her in the Quran. He name there is Maryam. Here is a YouTube clip of Christian and Muslim women together celebrating their respect for Mary/Maryam. It begins with a short piece from a play followed by discussion. (I'd love to see the whole play!)

I am delighted in these resources because I have a very good friend who is Muslim. We have become friends this year through our training together as English Language tutors. Sometimes you just "hit it off" with someone - that's how it is with Abir. She and her family are immigrants from Syria, having also lived in Kuwait for some years. Because of the information from the Advent retreat I was fairly confident Abir would like the YouTube clip so I sent it to her. She did. She said thinking of Maryam always brings tears to her eyes. We will meet for lunch soon and will no doubt talk about our perspectives on Mary/Maryam who is part of both our traditions.

This is a quick snap of Abir (talking to Anthea) and her family at our place one day recently.