A Sacred Convergence Reflection by Dean Gail Stearns
April 9, 2022
A Ramadan Iftar dinner; an annual festive Vaisakhi celebration; the Passover Seder; Good Friday’s reading of the Passion. All of these take place during the week of April 11, 2022 at the Fish Interfaith Center. As I write, I am preparing for a week of sacred convergence – when these important religious holidays converge. Whether you are a person of one of these faiths, or simply curious, we invite you to join us!
Last week, I joined the Muslim Student Association and Shaykh Jibreel Shaykh for the first “Iftar” dinner at the Fish Interfaith Center during Ramadan. I fasted for one day, knowing I would break the fast with them at Iftar at sunset that evening. I arrived at 7pm, already experiencing a foggy mind and fatigued body from fasting, to find the Muslim students filled with energy and joy. “It’s Ramadan!” they exclaimed. For them, though fasting is a vital physical aspect of Ramadan, it is only one of many actions assisting them as Muslims toward one goal: developing a greater consciousness of God. It is a month of practicing patience, generosity, sacrifice, prayer and supplication, Qur’an learning, and gratitude.
On Tuesday, we joined the Sikh community for one of our favorite evenings of the year at the Fish Interfaith Center. We learn about the innovative and determined service of Sikhs around the world through fascinating guest speakers and join with joy to bring in the solar new year over a delicious Indian meal. Vaisakhi is an important date on the journey of strengthening steadfastness of faith and service to all of humanity for Sikhs. It is also celebrated as a Hindu festival.
Friday begins the Jewish celebration of Passover. Rabbi Corie Yutkin and Chapman Jewish Life invite persons of all faiths or interests to join them for a Seder, to recall the escape of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. This is an opportunity particularly for those Jewish students, faculty, and staff who are unable to be home with their families. They will enjoy a delicious kosher Passover meal with brisket and chicken and all of the side dishes. They will engage in a lively Seder and reading of the Haggadah and bring contemporary ideas to their most ancient texts.
Outside in Dee’s Garden of the Senses on Friday evening, the Passion of Christ as recorded in the Gospel of Mark will be read amidst incense and burning candles. Dr. Fr. Rafael Luevano and I, along with Catholic and Protestant students, invite you to join us. This can be seen as the most reflective day of “Holy Week,” the week during which Christians remember the last days of Jesus’ life – his arrest, trial, crucifixion by the Roman Empire, culminating in a celebration of his resurrection from the dead on Sunday, Easter morning. For Christians, Holy week is a reminder that God incarnate experienced human suffering – assuring them no human suffers alone; God is merciful and forgiving; and even death will not separate them from the love of God.
You are invited:
Wednesday during Holy Week and every week at 12:00 noon for Catholic Mass – all are welcome
Wednesday and every week at 5:30 pm for Wednesday night worship led by students (Rev. Nancy Brink preaching during Holy Week, on April 13) – join in meaningful Christian worship sponsored by Disciples on Campus welcoming all students
Friday, April 15, 5:30 pm for Passover Seder in the Wallace All Faiths Chapel
Friday, April 15, 6:00 pm for a reading of Mark’s Passion in Dee’s Garden of the Senses (through the back gate of the Fish Interfaith Center)
Monday April 18 at sunset (around 7:20pm), for Iftar (rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Whatever your faith or philosophy, I invite you to take a moment to pause and reflect this week – aware of the millions of people around the world engaged in commemorations and celebrations. May this week be one of sacred convergence.