Meditation and Prayer
by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.
My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those scriptures the first three days of this 2015 Interfaith Harmony Week.
In the Torah, for example, we read that our ancestor Abraham (peace be upon him) was visited by the LORD when he showed hospitality to three men who arrived at the entrance to his tent by the terebinth trees of Mamre [Genesis 18:1-15]. Abraham invited the visitors to get out of the blazing sun and sit in the shade. He offered water so they could bathe their feet. He asked Sarah to bake bread, while he had a choice calf prepared. The guests feasted, as Abraham waited upon them. Their conversation turned to Sarah and one of the men promised that upon his return a year later, old Sarah and older Abraham would have a child.
Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of Abraham and Sarah, of Jesus, and of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all), let us pray:
Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.
You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.
Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.
Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.
Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;
send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters
whom we have deprived of food and conversation.
O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Jews, Christians, Muslims,
that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.
Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.
School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for the Science and Religion class taught by Mike Raschko; Erica Martin, faculty; Beth Smith, staff; Steve Childress, graduate assistant; Louise Locke and Catherine Lucia, students.