Minister's Message: Fathers and Sons

Two of my most poignant moments on my recent pilgrimage to Israel were:
Standing to pray at the Western Wall of Lamentations in Jerusalem beside a Jewish man whose young son (4-5 years old) approached his Dad, put his hand on the wall and prayed;
A Palestinian boy (8 years old) approaching me to sell a candy bar in a public square in Bethlehem, Occupied Palestinian territory. No words were exchanged, just his eyes catching mine. We were on the other side of the humongous Israeli-built wall that excluded him and his family from the advantages of Israeli citizenship.
One wall was a sacred place of prayer, the other a separation between neighbours. I wonder how fathers explain these differences to their sons?
There was so much prayer being raised across the Holy Land, by pilgrims in Christian sites and churches, Muslims at the Dome of the Rock and in mosques, Jews in synagogue and at the Wailing Wall. Children learn from the adults around them in their formative years. Are they being taught that all prayer is helpful no matter the difference of ritual or language that names the Creator? That human needs expressed from human hearts are reaching the one heart of God, Yahweh, Allah? To these three traditional Monotheistic faiths I would add the Sikh religion which also believes in One God.
On Sunday, June 24 there is a Mobile Brunch at SouthWest and the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, both in Crawford Park. We will break bread together at both locations and neighbours can visit our places of worship and prayer. This St. Jean Baptiste Mobile Brunch celebrates the diversity of religious traditions, communities of faith and a common humanity.
It is neighbour sharing with neighbour, breaking down walls so all children can see from our example that there is a place for everyone. This gathering resonates in the story of the Good Samaritan which asks, "who is my neighbour?"
You are. They are. We are.
May our small effort to meet our neighbours be about breaking down walls and opening dialogue.
May our efforts build kind and respectful community.
May we be open to share prayers together wherever we find ourselves.
May love of neighbour root us in the core message of inclusion that we teach our children.

In our repertory of hymns there is this one that affirms:

Though ancient walls may still stand proud and racial strife be fact,
Though boundaries may be lines of hate, proclaim God's saving act!
Walls that divide are broken down, Christ is our unity!
Chains that enslave are thrown aside, Christ is our liberty! 

                                                                                         (Walter Farquharson, 1974, VU 691)

May all fathers on this year’s Father’s Day 2018 teach this truth by example.

Rev. David

Part of the wall that separates neighbours.

Part of the wall that separates neighbours.