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Abraham's Table at Stephen's Episcopal Church

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St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Beverly, hosted the Peace Islands Institute (PII) in an Abraham's Table event on Wednesday April 25, 2012. The theme was “Caring for Creation” from Christian, Jewish and Muslim Perspectives.

Speakers:

Rabbi Richard Simon

Rev. Jane Brady

Dr. Mesut Sahin

We thank the people at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and PII volunteers for making this event possible. Lunch was also served which was prepared by the volunteers of the PII. Below is the very brief summary of the speeches.

Rabbi Richard Simon

Shalom,

Principles in Judaism about God’s creation. God created the world therefore God earns the universe, the creation. We don’t have unrestricted freedom to misuse creation. It doesn’t belong to us, not only creation but even the essence of who we are. Our soul doesn’t belong to us. In Judaism, we are asked to see the world as God centered not human centered.

It says in the book of Deuteronomy: “When you besiege a city a long time, to make war against it in order to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them; for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down. For is the tree of the field a man, that it should be besieged by you?”

Finally in Judaism there is a story: God created Adam and Eve and took them for a tour through this amazing garden. God showed them around and the beautiful trees, plants and animals. God turned to them and said: “It’s not my job to maintain this beauty, it’s your job”. So, human beings have to maintain the world. It’s our responsibility and if we don’t do it, nobody will. Amen…

Rev. Jane Brady

More than 30 billion commercially produced water bottles, mostly made of PET, a plastic made from crude oil, are consumed annually in the US. Around 90% of PET bottles take between 450 to 1000 years to break down and in the process of recycling bottles more toxins are released to the environment.

Religions are increasingly involved in understanding the environment as a religious, spiritual, ethical and moral issue. Religious groups are also claiming their prophetic calling to rise up what we have long been called to do and spend on behalf of the poor and the disadvantaged. Most people of faith are becoming aware of those who are poor, who are disproportionately affected by climate change, habitat loss and pollution.

We understand Jesus to be both God and human, another great mystery of faith. The Jesus will come again on earth on the day of the final judgment. I think the model Jesus Christ in his choice to suffer for us, giving Christians a particular calling to identify with and seek to elevate suffering for all creatures. Especially those who are the most vulnerable. So, as we think about caring for creation let us all became people who love. We understand that this world the one that exist for all of us, not just for ourselves. We are in this together and we all thank God. Thank You…

Dr. Mesut Sahin

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim. The verse means, "In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the most Merciful." That’s known best to Muslims because we are saying it many times a day before beginning to any kind of daily activities. God is very gracious, merciful. He had so much love for this life and creation.

“The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allah ] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever forbearing and forgiving.”  Qur’an 17:44.

All the things in nature praise God in a way or another, we may or may not understand their language. Therefore we love and take care of the creation just because God created them.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says: “When you take ablution or wudu by a river, use the water carefully” What we need to understand from this hadith is that you should use the world’s resources carefully. Just because you have few million dollars in your bank account doesn’t mean you can leave the lights on, in a house that has 20 rooms in it. Every time we waste these resources there is somebody else who is suffering from the lack of it. If we were to follow this single hadith today I think we would be in better shape today. Thank you…

Some pictures from the event:

 

 

IDC Video