Yesterday afternoon I attended synagogue at Congregation Albert, in Albuquerque. The service was dedicated to the remembrance of those who were victims of the Holocaust. I was moved by the gathering of people from many faith traditions as I saw people wearing cleric collars and yamakas. We were all there to stand united against any act of evil that diminishes voices.
The service itself was an ecumenical response to tragedy and hope that can rise out of devastation. We were at a synagogue, the Cantata was written by a Christian, the poems and melodies were taken from non-Jewish prisoners, and we said a prayer led by a rabbi. You can’t get more ecumenical than that. It was breath taking. Perhaps my favorite memory of the day was a special moment when six Holocaust survivors came forward and, as the synagogue’s children’s choir sang a wonderful melody, the survivors lit candles in memory of the six million victims who lost their lives as a result of Nazi domination.
There was something extremely profound as we gathered together to acknowledge our loss. Suddenly, the notion of what it means to be a child of God was larger than the confines that we place around religious divisions. There are situations and conditions that bring humanity together to struggle with what it means to live with one another and give thanks for all that gifts that are given to us.
My hope for today is that we will no longer be bound by our own theological constructs, but open the doors to learn from each other. Love is born out of the notion that we are all God’s children and as such, every one of us brings special gifts and insights to the table. The banquet feast is available for all of us. Let us stop speaking language that does not confirm the reality that we all find truths that strengthen us and bring us hope. May the holy presence of God move within us to understand and embrace the spirit of ecumenicalism.