Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hidden Treasures: The Voices of Women in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Downtown Chicago at Night

Lake Michigan at the Point!

Another beautiful scene at Lake Michigan in Chicago, IL

On Monday, November 5 at 8AM I had a tooth extracted. By 9:30AM I was sitting at the Catholic Theological Union listening to a panel discussion on recoverng the voices of women and addressing challenging and problematic texts. In a truly interfaith worship service they began with a Jewish prayer at 8:30AM. At noon we had a Christian prayer and at 5PM a Muslim prayer.

Jewish Prayer

Parts of the Jewish prayer were conducted from the book, Gates of Prayer for Shabbat and Weekdays: A Gender Sensitive Prayerbook by Chaim Stern, editor. Rabbi Ellen Weinberg dreyfus read from the Torah and the prayer service included a cantor.

Midday Christian Prayer
For this prayer we recited the following:
Leader: O God, come to our assistance.
All: Lord, make haste to help me.
Leader: Glory, honor and worship to God, to Christ and to the Holy Spirit:
All: AS it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

We sang Lord of All Hopefulness and Psalm 95. We then recited prayer and someone read scripture form Isaiah 55:8-11. We had a brief silence, followed by prayers of intercession, the Lord's Prayer and a concluding prayer and blessing.

Muslim Prayer
I did not attend the 5PM Muslim prayer because I did not have anything appropriate to cover my head and I was not wearing a ankle length dress. Muslim planners included the following handout for non-Muslims:

The prayer in Islam consists of a unit that is repeated twice, three times or four times depending on the time of the day.

The unit starts in the standing position. The first chapter of the Quran "The Opening" is recited:

In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Mercy-Giving.
All praise is for God alone, Lord of all the worlds.,
The All-Merciful, the Mercy-Giving,
Master of the Day of Judgment.
IT is You alone we worship and it is You alone we ask for help.
Guide us along the straight path
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed grace,
Not those upon whom there is wrath,
Nor those who have gone astray.

The next step is bowing, during which God the Almighty is exalted.
The third step is prostration, during which God the Most High is exalted.
The last step is sitting, during which supplications and greetings for Prophet Muhammad, Prophet Abraham and their families are given.

The Principles of Dialogue are worthy of use in other interfaith gatherings and so I include them here for your reference:

1. We should recognize that no single group or viewpoint has a complete monopoly on the truth.
2. We should not envision ourselves or any group as the saving remnant.
3. We should test all proposals for their pastoral realism and potential impact on individuals as well as for their theological truth.
4. We should presume that those with whom we diff ere are acting in good faith.
5. We should put the best possible construction on differing positions.
6. We should be cautious in ascribing motives.
7. We should engage the realities of contemporary culture, acknowledging the culture's valid achievements and real dangers.

Amen and Blessed Be! Rev. Dr. Qiyamah A. Rahman

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