We at Grace were honored to open our doors to brothers and sisters of the Islamic faith last night. We began with an interfaith program that included Christians worshiping in the Episcopal liturgy of Evening Prayer. Then, we moved into Parish Hall and shared in an Iftar dinner, the meal of breaking a daylong fast after sunset. Here are the remarks I shared with all gathered during the interfaith program.
It is an honor for us at Grace Episcopal Church to welcome friends of differing faith-- and friends of no faith--to this wonderful program tonight, and to co-host with our neighbors from the Turquois Center a Ramadan Iftar that we will all share after sunset.
All of this is a high honor for us, because we are Christian: which means we are people seeking God in the way of Jesus of Nazareth, who walked the earth approximately two-thousand years ago. We find in the life and teachings of Jesus, recorded in our Scriptures called the Gospels, a compelling witness for the life of love as the means by which what is lost and broken in this world made for good, may be redeemed and restored.
On the Thursday after Pentecost, May 24, I marked my one-hundredth day as Vicar of Grace. While 100 is a somewhat arbitrary number, it is a nice round one—a popular benchmark that organizational thinkers often use to frame the high importance of a new beginning in leadership. The “first hundred days” convey how crucial it is to start well – form relationships, assess the community’s health, share values and priorities, and begin to articulate a vision for the future.
As we pass from those first hundred days into a surer sense of our life and ministry together, I have been reflecting on all the good ground we’ve covered during the se“asons of Lent and Easter. We have worshiped on the beautiful Tree of Life Labyrinth and Garden—on Ash Wednesday, on Good Friday, on Palm Sunday, for an Interfaith Celebration of Music and Dance, and to celebrate the final gathering of our Easter/Spring Book Club. We’ve served more than a thousand cups of juice and coffee, breakfast snacks, and prayer with our Grace2Go “customers” and shared fertile soil and toiling hands to produce fresh vegetables in our Community Garden, yielding nourishment for our neighbors.