photo courtesy of Pixabay
“A bridge is just a wall turned sideways”
Bishop Copeland/Hope International Christian Church, Marietta, GA
In a Synagogue in the South, the Bible Belt, following an election that has left many in fear, 1000 people sit shoulder to shoulder. 1000 people from 17 different faith traditions, standing with an interfaith Color Guard as we say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing “America the Beautiful”. Spoken by beautifully diverse clergy, we hear messages that tell of the Ripple Effect. Through song and prayer, drums and Tibetan bowls, we are immersed in the sounds that have always united us and, later, share a meal as diverse as we are. Opening with banter between a Jew and a Muslim, the evening proves, once again, what I have known for so long – we are, as Bishop Copeland said, turning walls into bridges. Quietly, peacefully and with great joy.
12 years ago a Rabbi and a Priest came together and said we must do something to bridge this gap between us. They became friends (and a great comedic act I hear) and the Annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Celebration was formed. Year by year faith traditions were added and today nearly 30 spiritual communities are represented. For 12 years people have been putting their differences aside for one evening. For 12 years people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds have sat side by side in a Synagogue for an evening of song, prayer, laughter and messages of peace. Over the years one thing has become apparent – our message is the same.
We simply teach it differently.
There is peace in this world. I have been witness to it. Within the walls of a house of worship hearts are opened to the possibility of what can be. Within the hearts of each person in that room lives the knowledge of peace. As we bring that thought of peace into our minds, the walls start to turn sideways and bridges begin to appear.
The time has come to cross those bridges and walk the path of peace together. We can and we will do this.
From my heart to yours, Diane