Words from Act of Remembrance & Solidarity
Thursday 21st March 2019 @ 1:15 pm
Today in Trinity we held an Act of Remembrance & Solidarity for those murdered in Christchurch New Zealand last Friday. It was a moving and meaningful time with words and prayers from Quran being interspersed with words from Bible.
Below are words from the Act of Remembrance, which took place as 50 candles were lit, and the names of victims were read aloud. Below that are words I shared as part of the gathering.
In the peace and stillness of this moment
We allow our minds and hearts to travel
We remember men women and children
Murdered in the name of a God who cares not for violence or war
We hold in our minds and hearts
Men, women and children
Who are husbands, wives,
mothers, sisters brothers, daughters,
Grandparents and grandchildren.
We will not pass over their memory lightly
We will honour their lives
And we hold in our minds and hearts
A desire to allow their deaths
to pull us all onward toward a deeper humanity.
We light candles for each one fallen …
Creating light, banishing darkness
And hear their name aloud
Giving voice, to their life, in death.
Recently, a Muslim friend sent me the picture you see on the order produced for today. This is a real photo that was captured in Damascus, Syria in the year 1889.
The one being carried is a paralysed Christian dwarf named Sameer. The one carrying him is a blind Muslim named Mohammed.
Sameer would depend on Mohammed for transportation in the busy streets of Damascus. Mohammed also depended on Sameer to help navigate him passed obstacles.
Only one of them was able to walk and only one of them was able to see. They were both orphans and lived together in the same room. They were forever together.
When Sameer died, Mohammed stayed in his room crying for a week. He lost his other half and as a result he died after that week from sadness.
Friends, we stand in memory of those lives brutally ended – we stand in the knowledge that too often religion has been the cause of violence rather than the balm that sooths – in the words of Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Sacks:
“When religion turns men into murderers, God weeps. … Too often in the history of religion, people have killed in the name of the God of life, waged war in the name of the God of peace, hated in the name of the God of love and practised cruelty in the name of the God of compassion. When this happens, God speaks, sometimes in a still, small voice almost inaudible beneath the clamour of those claiming to speak on his behalf. What he says at such times is: Not in My Name .”
I am not sure what readings of Christian scripture right wing white supremacists use to justify what happened last week – but I am sure it ‘aint Christian …
… and I am sure there is no place for deliberate causing of suffering through violence against fellow humans in any of the Abrahamic faiths – and I am sure those who claim there is, twist the texts and tarnish the life of God in the world.
I am also sure – when people of faiths stand together, in solidarity and empathy, something of the brokenness and ugliness of the world begins to mend … little by little, stitch by stitch, when we stand together we are stronger, not because we are the same but because we are different, and ask any scientist here today, there is strength in diversity.
We stand in solidarity not because we are strong, but because we know we are weak, because we know we are better holding each other.
We stand in solidarity, not because we want everyone to believe and practice what I believe and practice, but because deep down inside we have an itch that when we are honest we suspect God might be bigger than and more than anything any of us can imagine.
We stand in solidarity, not because we need to, but because we want to.
Because more than the colour of our skin,
more than the prayers of our religion,
more than the language we speak or the songs we lament to
we are deeply, deeply, human.
Maybe, just maybe, after the horror of such a time as this … we can say with Rumi,
“We may know who we are or we may not.
We may be Muslims,
Jews or Christians
but until our hearts
become the mould for every heart
we will see only our differences.”
While we look after only our own hearts,
and the hearts of those like us,
the world trundles on,
and evil acts of terror trample over families and tribes and nations and faiths.
So let us today – if any good can come of such a time as this at all – plunge the depth of our own hearts, and pledge ourselves afresh to live knowing, as humanity, we are better together.
lig dó a bheith amhlaidh
Let it be so
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