The Rabbi, the Vicar and the Buddhist…no it’s not the start of one of those jokes.
Rather it is the group of people who gathered in the Prayer Room at Worcestershire Royal Hospital to sign and affirm our multi-faith covenant.
So along with the County’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant representing HM the Queen, the Chair of our Trust and Councillor Jabba Riaz, himself a Muslim, we heard stories from our different faith traditions.
It was a beautiful time.
And the funny thing is that, whilst recognising each other’s different views, the common theme of LOVE, RESPECT and UNDERSTANDING pervaded it all.
Here were people from different faith positions seeking the common good. Here were a group eschewing war and violence and terror, and wanting to pursue peace and dialogue. There was no sense of threat to different views, just mutual respect.
And it struck me how much we need this in the DARK TIMES in which we live.
It seems that political forces at the moment want to isolate human from human. They want to mark out the “other” as dangerous and not to be trusted. They seem to be loving division and even fostering hate, at the expense of understanding and love and tolerance.
All this is in stark contrast to what happened at our multi-faith event. And whilst these things get very little press (we all know that hate sells more papers than love) they are real and happening all over the place.
Now I know that some will say that religion has started more wars than anything else, and that, if true, is a great sadness. But true religion, in all its forms, is peace loving and noble and good.
And what it takes for that to prosper is trust. Trust in our fellow humans, however different their views. Trust that those who are different can enrich our lives and not threaten them.
I hope that our small multi-faith event represents, in microcosm, the Hospitals in which I work and the County in which I live. I know it’s a pipe dream…but realties have to start with dreams and hopes.