Bahai News - In Many Faiths, A Single Wish: Peace On Earth

In Many Faiths, A Single Wish: Peace On Earth

Members of eight faiths expressed hope for a better world, free from terrorism, Tuesday evening during the 19th annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service in Temple Beth Zion.

About 350 people attended the service, sponsored by the National Conference for Community & Justice and the Network of Religious Communities.

"Whatever suffering and turmoil the future years hold," said Leslie McCain of the Baha'i Community of Western New York, "humanity can endure the supreme trial."

She added that Baha'i teaches that troubles can actually "release the potentialities of man" and "reveal his destiny on this Earth."

Imam Fajri Ansari of the Muslim mosque Masjid Nu'man said: "During these trying times and during this blessed time of Ramadan, we ask God for mercy, for his forgiveness and for the freedom to worship him exclusively -- to recognize his authority above every system of knowledge. He is the source of peace."

Before the worship leaders fanned out in the synagogue to collect donations of canned goods for the Food Bank, Jeanette Ludwig of the Zen Dharma Buddhist Community said that kindness means "benevolence toward all beings, free from attachment."

"In the U.S. today," she said, "we think about the last few weeks and come together as family, with gratitude. When we are kind, we give offerings to others. We can give even in poverty -- the offering of a warm glance to give others tranquility."

Deacon James Anderson of New Hope Baptist Church read from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, adding: "Love does not demand its own way. It will hardly even notice when others do it wrong."

The Rev. Frances Manley of the Unitarian Universalist Church quoted from an intertestament book, the Wisdom of Solomon, attributed to the king who chose wisdom over riches and thus received both: "All good things together came to me with (Wisdom), and in her hands was wealth past counting . . . nor do I hoard for myself the wealth that comes from her."

Thamarapu Srikrishnan of the Hindu Cultural Society read from the Hindu Creation Hymn, which told a creation story similar to that of Genesis, adding: "Shanti, shanti, shanti. May peace prevail on this Earth."

Sirjit Singh of the Niagara Frontier Sikh Society said there are two aspects of strength, bringing to mind the recent rout of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Physical strength is "the sword that scatters the armies of the wicked," he said; spiritual strength is "the invincible army of the saints; they will conquer the whole world."

Reflecting on the good and bad deeds of mankind since Sept. 11, Rabbi Jamie Arnold of Temple Sinai quoted from the Book of Deuteronomy: "See, I set before you today life and prosperity, but also death and destruction."

Then he asked, "Where can we find life in our divided families?"

His answer was that the word religion means "to reconnect," which is what was happening in this interfaith service.

"Yes, we are many different religions and cultures," added the Rev. Jeff Carter Jr. of Prince of Peace God in Christ Church. "But we are family."


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