Buried at the bottom of Saturday's IndyStar.com headlines was a compelling story about faith, friendship and goodwill that read "Muslims to feast at synagogue." Many may have missed the significance in that one line and scrolled past. I, however, could not...not after my recent blog about Jewish persecution during WWII.
The article tells of an Indianapolis rabbi who opened his synagogue to a Turkish-American Muslim for a celebration of Ramadan, an Islamic holy day. Think of that for a moment. In today's socio-political climate where tensions between Arabs and Jews run redhot, these men in downtown Indy have not only found some common ground, they are fasting and feasting together!
Joining them in the celebration are two protestant congregations, as well, which made me very happy as a protestant Christian, myself. I don't often see my co-religionists reach across denominational boundaries, let alone religious and cultural ones. To me, this speaks to the "good news" of Jesus, who like these men, loved to sit across the table from those who were not like him and practice the fine art of fellowship. He was not afraid to befriend a so-called enemy or invite a hated member of society to his table. He knows firsthand the benefit of putting aside one's own wellbeing for the benefit of another.
And while these men are not laying down their lives one for the other, I'm not so sure they wouldn't. At least they've made a bold statement about religious reconciliation. And in this day and age of jihad and self-righteous rhetoric, it is a welcomed and appreciated gesture.