Christians, Jews, and Muslims

no-one-is-alone-in-jerusalem

The three monotheistic faith’s believers may argue bitterly, say their God is better than your God, that you have to do this or that to go to heaven—or maybe, just maybe they might love one another, in spite of their differences.

Think about this for at least 15 seconds: we are all descendants of Abraham.

And regardless of our differing views of God, we all believe in one God.

Still, we have misbehaved between us—Jews against Muslims, Christians against Jews, and the like, all in the name of religion, with cultural and political ideologies spilling over.

However, Bruce Feiler, in his book, Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths, talks about Pope John Paul II’s visit to the Jewish state in March of 2000. As the pope came to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, he touched the stones, and squeezed a note to God into a crack in the wall.

“His written prayer, which was later removed and placed in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem’s Holocaust museum, is the clearest manifesto the movement [dialogue among the monotheistic religions] has ever had:

God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your name to the nations. We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer. And asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the covenant.”[1]

A first visit by a pontiff to the Jewish state, and its purpose for Christians, Jews, and Muslims to talk and engage in discussion, is a tall order in today’s society, wouldn’t you agree? On the other hand, it is also an example for us today, in our hate-filled society, to remember that we are all sons and daughters of Abraham.

Interestingly, because of his visit to Jerusalem, Feiler explores how the people of the three monotheistic faiths live together in Jerusalem:

“No one is alone in Jerusalem: … Once inside [the walls], the stream [of people] divides. Christians turn north. Today is the last Friday before Christmas, and … monks will lead a somber procession carrying crosses down the Via Dolorosa [the route taken by Jesus through Jerusalem to Calvary]. Jews turn south. Today is the last Friday of Hanukkah, and at sunset rabbis will hold a jubilant ceremony … at the Western Wall. Muslims turn east. Today is the last Friday of Ramadan, and at noon clerics will hold a massive prayer service …”[2]

The faithful of Jerusalem travel peacefully and respectfully along separate paths in observance of either Christmas, Hanukkah, or Ramadan, according to their chosen faith.

Why can’t we?

[1] Bruce Feiler, Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of the Three Faiths, (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002), 199-200.

[2] Ibid., 3-4

 

 

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