2010 NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, FRESNO, CA

On the National Day of Prayer, May 6, we experienced one of the most wonderful events of our lives. We would like to share it with you. Around 6:30 pm, we parked the car at St. John´s Cathedral in Fresno, CA. The event that we were about to live was held by an Organization to which we belong named 'The Interfaith Alliance Fresno Chapter' which includes believers of all houses of worship, of all faiths, who care about the peace, harmony, and welfare of our community. We had decided that each member would dress according to her/his culture or faith. I, Dina, wore a beautiful African 'Mozambican capulana' (dress), and Zaher was in an Arabic galabiah. Entering the Cathedral Foyer, our hearts felt an inexplicable joy! There were Sikhs, a Hindu couple, the wife in a beautiful white sari, a Muslim Imam in his elegant gown, a Jewish Rabbi dressed in a white formal costume, a Buddhist Priest in her elegant gown, a Catholic Priest in his dignified black robe, a Leader of the Hindu Temple dressed in a simple white costume reminding us of Gandhi, a Methodist Pastor in a beautiful dress and sash adorned with a butterfly, symbol of the Resurrection, according to her. It was as if suddenly we were part of a new world with a special space of freedom where, just being ourselves, we can become bridges among Men. After the arrival of the Mayor of Fresno, who read the "First Amendment to the Constitution of America" which reaffirms the freedom of speech, of worship regardless of race, religion, and culture, the program under the title "Freedom of Conscience - The American Heritage?" began. In the tranquility of that Cathedral, several leaders, filled with the same Spirit of Peace, Brotherhood, and Harmony, prayed to the same One God, in their own way. Seeing them, in their differences, we felt the presence of the same God, the same Love for Humanity, the same burden in their hearts for the poor, the suffering, the same quest to build bridges with their neighbors. It was a harmonious act of worship of God, whatever name He is called, through whatever attitude taken to speak with Him in prayer. The most extraordinary and beautiful moment we lived was when, praying in small groups, we had the blessing of being part of a group holdings hands, including a Catholic Priest a Jewish Rabbi, a Muslim Imam a Reverend of the New Thought Community, us, Seventh Day Adventists, and a Mennonite Pastor. While we were praying together our minds flew to Palestine and Israel where hatred and war persist. There was a Muslim Arab, and a Jew holding hands and praying together to the same God of Abraham! What a glimpse of Hope and Peace that was! We felt as if a piece of heaven had descended to earth uniting Men of good will. There at that moment, each one of us was a light shining in the universe of God. When singing the closing song "Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin With Me", we felt the Spirit of God moving among us and His angels joining their voices to ours. At that point we became a ?Wonderful Oneness?, as Jesus said : ?? Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name?the name you gave me?so that they may be one as we are one.? (Gospel of John 17:11) We can never forget the wonder of those moments when we prayed differently, but TOGETHER for the good of our nation, community, and the world, our beautiful 'blue' planet.
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