… but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations…)’ (Romans 4:16-17)
When Lucy and I went to the Holy Land, we took the Breaking Bread Journeys Tour, which is a joint Israeli-Palestinian tourism company. During our pilgrimage, we visited a city on the West Bank called Nablus.
While in Nablus, we spent the morning at a soup factory. For lunch, we went to a Palestinian school for girls, where they were learning business, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills.
During our lunch, an Imam—an Islamic religious leader—joined us. After talking about why he supported the school, he asked if we had any questions.
One of our fellow pilgrims asked, “What are the greatest challenges you face in starting this school and keeping it open?”
He said, “Our greatest challenges have come from some of my fellow Muslims, especially from some of the very strict religious leaders. They want to deny any path forward for these girls. They also want to resort to violence rather than finding any peace with the Christians and the Jews.”
He continued, “It’s very difficult to be a moderate religious leader in this environment. As I read my scriptures and as I read your scriptures, we’re all the children of Abraham together. I worry about the Muslims who deny that, just as I worry about the Jews and Christians who deny the same.”
Today I encourage you to imagine that you had been at that lunch with that Imam in that Palestinian school for girls. Is there something he shared that’s speaking to you? He certainly said many things that spoke to me then and have continued to do so.
Despite all the differences we may have with the Jews and the Muslims, scripture does reveal that we are all the Children of Abraham. Maybe it’s time to redouble our efforts to make friends and find peace with our siblings.
- Did that Iman say anything to you about the importance of Muslims, Jews, and Christians being the “children of Abraham” together?
- How could Muslims, Jews, and Christians honor the differences between our separate faith traditions while also celebrating what we have in common?
- As I think about making peace with other faith traditions, I feel challenged by the lack of peace between the separate Christian denominations. What would it take for our churches to find more reconciliation and connections?