May 12, 2019.
We will gather together for our Badaliya and Peace Islands Institute faith sharing on Sunday, May 12, 2019 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm at St. Paul Church in Cambridge, in the small chapel located in the Parish Center. Please join us in person or in spirit as we encourage Inter-faith relations and pray together for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East and especially in the Holy Land.
For the fifty days following Easter Sunday, Christians contemplate the meaning in our lives of the greatest event and Mystery in our tradition, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the midst of our joy and perhaps some intense soul searching by Christians, our Muslim friends have entered into their monthly Ramadan fast from approximately May 5th to June 4th this year. Perhaps it is compassion for one another, ennobled by the events leading up to the Crucifixion and the miracle of the Resurrection that stand at the heart of both the Easter Season and the Ramadan fast.
We are challenged this year by the horrific attack on Christian Churches and tourist hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday where Easter joy turned into a massacre of innocent believers and untold suffering. The recent attacks on Mosques in New Zealand and a Synagogue here in the US are compounded. With aching hearts, we must ask the question, how are we to find our suffering and resurrected Lord in the face of such violence and hatred? Surely He is there in their midst, mourning and suffering with them and calling the victims to Eternal life in Him. And we must be there too. Louis Massignon, founder of the Badaliya prayer movement wrote,
"As long as God leaves us absorbed in our own suffering we remain sterile, nailed to ourselves. As soon as compassion makes us find ourselves beyond another's suffering than our own, we enter into the science of compassion, experientially, we discover wisdom in it; in the immortal company of all creatures purified by angelic and human trial we glimpse the joy of tomorrow through the pain of today, that the malice of the fallen angels attempts to disconnect the one from the other." LM 1947 Letter # 10
Ramadan was established after the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in 610 CE. That moment is known as Laylat-al-Qadr, or the Night of Power and is traditionally celebrated with intensified prayers on the 27th day during the holy month of Ramadan fasting. The Arabic term, Ramadan translates as "scorching" indicating the depth of spiritual cleansing called for during this month of prayer, alms giving and fasting. This month is the holiest season in Islam and begins with the new moon sighting that marks the start of the 9th month in the lunar calendar. Allah said in the Qur'an in Surah Al-Baqarah (the Cow):
"Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong)."(Surah Baqarah:185)
Ramadan, following just after the Christian six weeks of Lent this year, is an opportunity for Muslims and Christians to renew our compassion, respect and understanding for one another as we cleanse our hearts of malice and fear and reach out to share life with one another. True compassion is the offering of ourselves to the God of Mercy and Love, to suffer and die with the Divine present in every victim of violence and hatred, that we may rise again together to new life in the Resurrection at the end of time. Indeed, He is Risen!
Let us pray for all victims of violence and even for their perpetrators for peace with justice everywhere.
Peace to you,
(See www.dcbuck.com for all past letters to the Badaliya and Peace Islands Institute)