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This holy season reminds us that God wants us all to work for goodness

This holy season reminds us that God wants us all to work for goodness

Inclusivity Leadership

For Christians, Muslims, and Jews worldwide, the things they celebrate now form the backbone of their faith. But even in that time of joy, there are too many reminders of how much work remains to take God’s love and promise to a hurting world.

The calendar tells us that the Passover has arrived and Holy Week will culminate in the celebration of an empty tomb.
Those of the Muslim faith will conclude the month-long observation of Ramadan on April 21.

It is a rare convergence of all three faiths in the same month.

However, the headlines too often scream of mass killings, anti-semitism, the rise of hate groups, political turmoil, and, unfortunately, distrust turning to hostility between differing faiths. Sometimes, that rancor spills over into our United Methodist faith as well. Theological disagreements can turn into dangerous standoffs.

The question begs: What can we all do to become the force for good a hurting world needs us to be?

“It begins with relationships, forming them with people of different faiths. It takes intentionality to carve out time for people of different backgrounds,” said Rev. Melissa Stump, who serves as Chairwoman of The Florida Conference Commission on Religion and Race (CCORR) team.

“Sometimes it starts within our local churches, to educate people, to be willing to call it sin the way we treat other people in a way that degrades, disrespects and treats them in ways we would not want to be treated. Our unified presence and lifting our similarities and what we have in common as people of faith is important and should act in a certain way and treat each other in a way that celebrates our faith.”

That’s vital in a political and media climate that too often thrives on division and controversy. That gets amplified when some leaders hesitate to condemn acts of bigotry, attacks on Jewish individuals and businesses, and white supremacy.

The message of good must overcome the voices of evil. That is the role for the modern church—all churches, all faiths—to play. In a statement recognizing the Passover, President Biden referred to “a timeless story about that most human quest for freedom. Redemption. Faith. Hope. And, ultimately, deliverance.”

That search for freedom and deliverance isn’t confined to an event thousands of years ago.

“This Passover, we hold in our hearts the people of Ukraine and those around the world whose heroic stand against tyranny inspires us all,” the President said.

“The enduring spirit of this holiday continues to teach us that with faith, the driest desert can be crossed, the mightiest sea can be split, and hope never stops marching towards the promised land.”

Believers today are finding unity more powerful than division.

“Today, more clergy are committed to inter-religious cooperation with a better understanding of changing demographics.
Many of today’s American families have mixed religions,” Victor Bragg, a Muslim community activist, and interfaith leader, wrote for Faith In Florida.

Fasting is a major part of Ramadan, and Christians know that Jesus went for 40 days and nights without food to prepare for his ministry following his baptism. And Bragg noted that the Passover meal, which commemorates the night death passed by the Jewish captives in Egypt, includes a prayer, “Let all who are hungry come and eat,” to welcome strangers to their Seder and provide food for anybody in need.

The Rev. Dr. Sharon Austin, Director of Connectional and Justice Ministries for The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church called on all to turn those lessons into positive action.

“How can the spirit of this holy season manifest in a period of peaceful neighborhoods and beyond to a global spring of peace? We face much strife and divisions in America and around the world,” she said.

“How can we transfer the moral lessons of moderation, repentance, and self-denial from fasting into actions that lessen conflict?

It starts with numbers. Imagine what could happen if the estimated 2.6 billion Christians worldwide, 1.9 billion Muslims, and 13 million Jews could see each other as soldiers for goodness?

It could change the world.

“We should practice spiritual disciplines to guide us to a life of service and serving and loving all people. We recognize what God did through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ should guide our words and actions—how he treated all people,” Rev. Stump said.

“Maybe Lent, Passover, and Ramadan are intentional times of recognizing who we are and living out our faith in such a way that glorifies God and Jesus Christ.”

Joe Henderson is News Content Editor for

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