World Interfaith Harmony Week

unWorld Interfaith Harmony Week is celebrated in the first week of February each year, 1st – 7th February.
This age of globalization needs enlightened people in each faith who can examine their sacred writings and traditions and identify the aspects that can benefit all humanity as well as those that preserve each religion’s identity.
World Interfaith Harmony Week aims to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith and non-faith. It provides a platform, one week in the year, where people of every group can recognize their common values, build ties with each other, and work alongside one another to bring peace and harmony to their communities.
World Interfaith Harmony Week is based on the pioneering work of The Common Word initiative. This initiative, which started in 2007, called for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious Commandments; Love of God, and Love of the Neighbour, without nevertheless compromising any of their own religious tenets. The Two commandments are at the heart of the three Monotheistic religions and therefore provide the most solid theological ground possible.
World Interfaith Harmony Week extends the Two Commandments by adding ‘Love of the Good, and Love of the Neighbour’. This formula includes all people of goodwill. It includes those of other faiths, and those with no faith.
Resources on the Uniting Church ‘Relations with Other Faiths‘ website could be helpful.

Scripture in the Round, a poem by Earl Livings.
Sacred, an exhibition at the British Library, September 2007
Somewhere outside, the addled cultures
of exclusivity clash, and clash again,
as have all zealots, all purgers
of scapegoats, all crusading armies,
to the same breathless end.

In here, Jew, Christian, Muslim,
the curious, the lapsed or distant,
circle these Abrahamic accounts,
variations on the one theme
of listening to the source
of all blessings.

We cannot touch the papyrus
unearthed from the rubbish tip
of ancient Oxyrhynchus, the gold
and vibrant ink letters and images
on vellum, the marriage contract,
the ceramic lamp, all transfigured
by the music of visionary tongues,
can only stand before each
Torah, Gospel, Qu’ran,
as if before an opening star,
and know them as incarnations
of that lush silence that inspires
believer and non-believer
to Truth, Beauty, Good,
which we carry outside,
the heart thrumming.

A prayer by Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy
Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but you.
Great and wonderful are your works, wondrous are your ways.
Thank you for the many splendored variety of your creation.
Thank you for the many ways we affirm your presence and purpose,
Thank you for the freedom to do so.
Forgive our violation of your creation.
Forgive our violence toward each other.
We stand in awe and gratitude at your persistent love
for each and all of your children:
Christian, Jew, Muslim,
as well as those with other faiths.
Grant to all our leaders attributes of the strong;
mutual respect in word and deed,
restraint in the exercise of power,
and the will for peace with justice,
for all.
Eternal God, creator of the universe, there is no God but you. Amen.
(Excerpted from Current Dialogue 24/93, p.36)

In the space between traditions by William L.(Bill) Wallace
(click on link for words and music)

Deep in our minds by William L. (Bill) Wallace)
(click on link for words and music)

Now thank we all our God (2 new verses)
If you plan to sing “Now Thank We All Our God,” that great hymn by Martin Rinkart, at an interfaith Thanksgiving service this month, consider replacing the third Trinitarian doxological stanza with these stanzas people of all faiths can sing together

In temple, synagogue, from minaret and steeple,
let songs of praise ring out from all God’s faithful people,
to One who give us hope, in times of deep despair,
that peace will come one day, and justice will be fair.

Sing praise and thanks to God whose rule in love is grounded,
who cares for all our needs, with grace that is unbounded,
the one eternal God, whom earth and heaven adore,
the God who was and is, and shall be evermore.*
(From Faith That Lets Us Sing, Wayne Leupold Editions, 2017)

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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