Faith Leader Perspective

by Bob Lesniewski

Seven years ago I started organizing Inter-Faith Prayer Services. “Peace and Unity For All People” Our Prayer Leaders are Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Baha’i and Quakers.

Three times a year People come together. Different but all have the same human values. Compassion, justice, peace and love for your Neighbor. Organizing these events has given me an education as to why we do not have “Peace and Unity for All People.”

I will share one example. A night before one of our prayer gatherings a Lady called me and said; “ I have trouble liking Muslims.’ I asked her if she had ever met a Muslim. She said no. At our prayer gathering I introduced the Lady to a Muslim Women. They sat together during the prayer service. After the service I talked to the Ladies. I was happy to hear they were going to get together and have lunch.

The song “Getting To Know You” has the lyrics “Getting To Know All About You, So You Will Like Me.” A young girl in Iran was standing in a firing line and was asked for any last words. She said, “If you knew me, you would not kill me.” So why do we not take the time to get to know people? Can we start by just saying hi to people as we pass them by? Put down our fear and introduce ourself to a stranger. Maybe ask the person standing behind us at the coffee shop, “ Can I Buy Your Beverage and if you are alone can we sit and get to know each other?” Can we take opportunities to spend time with people that are different than us? Can we put our hope for peace and love into action? Maybe if we start to get to know each other we can start to live the human values of compassion, justice, peace and love for our Neighbor. Maybe we can start to believe that “Peace and Unity For All People” is possible.