Making peace through dialogue… and great food!

The word of God which the Supreme Pen hath recorded on the seventh leaf of the Most Exalted Paradise is this: O ye men of wisdom among nations! Shut your eyes to estrangement, then fix your gaze upon unity. Cleave tenaciously unto that which will lead to the well-being and tranquility of all mankind. This span of earth is but one homeland and one habitation. It behoveth you to abandon vainglory which causeth alienation and to set your hearts on whatever will ensure harmony. In the estimation of the people of Baha man’s glory lieth in his knowledge, his upright conduct, his praiseworthy character, his wisdom, and not in his nationality or rank. O people of the earth! Appreciate the value of this heavenly word. Indeed it may be likened unto a ship for the ocean of knowledge and a shining luminary for the realm of perception.
(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 67)

With more than a little help from my friends, and particularly delicious food prepared by Sharrie (who should be running a catering business!) and very yummy fresh peach cobbler prepared by Rochelle, I hosted an Interfaith Dinner Dialogue event which was both thought provoking and delightful. Just like last year, this event presented an opportunity for dialogue while ensured each person to be heard uninterrupted and opened the door for further sharing of not just what each of the participants’ religion says but what their actual personal faith experience has been. I am particularly encouraged that the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington is in fact encouraging follow up meetings with the same, or different, group of people, later in September, and possibly in November and January. Several of my guests inquired about the Baha’i Faith and I invited all of them to the Musical Prayer Station in two week. Those who attended adhered to Judaism, Islam, several Christian denominations,  and Nature-based beliefs but were all interested in a sincere interfaith dialogue. As Sharrie and I were talking later tonight, there seems to be a need for more such events which would give a safe venue for getting to know each other and building peace through dialogue.

The civility of tonight’s dialogue contrasted dramatically with the plight of the Baha’is of Iran, whose seven leaders just got sentenced to jail for 20 years! Indeed the religious freedom we enjoy in this country, just like any freedom, can be easily taken for granted but should be even more appreciated when put in the context of the brutally intolerant experience of so many others throughout the globe.

May we all pray for the freedom of those unjustly imprisoned!

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