A Small Exchange Between Two Christians and a Muslim
by Kathye Hamm
Exuberant Spirit of God,
Bursting with the brightness of flame
Into the coldness of our lives
To warm us with a passion for justice and beauty,
We praise you.
Thank you! Thank you so much for my Continuing Education – and thank you also for supporting your pastor’s Continuing Education. Getting away, sharing with colleagues, learning new things – it’s all so inspiring and invigorating for a pastor in her/his call.
I have recently returned from a workshop on Mediation Skills with the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center. It was extremely informative and I believe I will find it useful in my ministry as I work with pastors and congregations in our synod.
Since I was in Hartford, Connecticut for the training, I thought I would use some vacation time and “skip” over to visit our daughter Hannah, who lives in Washington DC.
While we were there, we visited the Holocaust Museum. For those of you who have seen it, you know that it is tremendously informative as well as very emotional. To walk through it, along with people of all ages, is moving in and of itself. At the end, there is a large circular space with benches and candles to light where you can sit and reflect upon all that you have witnessed. Hannah and I sat there for a while in the silence. There is a quote from Elie Wiesel on the wall as you enter the museum:
“This museum is not an answer. It is a question. And the question always is:
What is your responsibility now that you’ve seen, now that you know? Each individual must answer that question for himself or herself.”
We took an Uber on our way home. Our driver’s name was Fahid. He said, “Happy Mother’s Day” to me as we got into the car. He asked if we lived in DC or if we were visiting. We told him that I lived in California and Hannah lived in DC. He said he wished he could see his mother. When they talk on the phone, “there are so many tears. So many tears.” He added that with our current administration, it will most likely be a long time before he is able to see his mother. He is from Sudan.
Before we got out of the car, I asked him how to say good-bye in his language.
I practiced it a few times, and we laughed together at my attempts at pronunciation. I said,
“Maa Salama! Peace to you.”
He returned my words of blessing: “Peace to you both. God bless you.” Then he turned to my daughter, and said, “Take good care of your mother.”
A small exchange between two Christians and a Muslim. Small, but perhaps not so simple after what we had just viewed in the Holocaust Museum.
May the exuberant Spirit of God fill you with peace and empower you with a desire for justice for all of God’s children. Blessings to you this Pentecost season.
Salaam, Shalom, Peace, Paz,
Exuberant Spirit of God,
Burn, breathe, speak in us;
Fill your world with justice and joy.
May 14, 2019