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Unity- A Reflection

April 17, 2022

This year is one of those rare times when Pesach (Passover), Easter, and Ramadan intersect. Thanks to my own experiences in interfaith dialogue and community in the military and outside of the military I am blessed with a wide variety of friends and colleagues who are a part of the Abrahamic family of faith. Through those relationships, my own faith life has grown a lot. Thus an occurrence such as this is a blessing for me as I think of and pray with/for my siblings across the globe.

One of my responsibilities as a USAF chaplain was to provide for the free exercise of religion of all military and civilian personnel and their families. For me, it was more than a Constitutional requirement, it was a way of expressing my own faith which was and is rooted and grounded in love.

In an age where religion and politics seek division through fear and hatred, standing in solidarity with my siblings isn’t always seen as “good” by some folks. Where some create fear-based division, I see opportunities for growth and learning based on what we hold in common. By sharing our stories, listening (really listening, not preparing your counter-point while the other is talking) to each other, learning from each other, and growing together in love and peace, unity can arise. Unity based on love and seeking peace builds community. Thomas Merton wrote about such unity in a letter that is found in the book, The Hidden Ground of Love: Letters.

The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear Brothers, we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.Thomas Merton

As holy days intersect, my prayer is that we will come to the realization that we are already one. And in that unity, may we work together for Shalom… Salam.. Peace…

Here is a musical interpretation of Merton’s words offered by Alana Levandoski with a reading by one of Merton’s novices, James Finley. What We Are

  1. Thanks for your reflection on the intersection of three major religious days. It is true that only when we listen to each other will we ever come to a place of unity.

  2. Jacobs Anne permalink

    I think this is a post that should be pondered and re-pondered daily. Human nature certainly seems to get in the way of harmony much of the time. What a wonderful world it would be…..

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