Faith Leaders Talk Abraham, Peace in Coral Gables
As a Jewish person, Daniella Levine Cava enjoys attending church services and celebrating with Muslim friends and neighbors.
The mayor of Miami-Dade went to Coral Gables Congregational United Church to listen to an interfaith panel on Sunday afternoon. Pastor Aaron Lauer of Coral Gables Church, Rabbi Robyn Fisher of Beth Or and Raabia Khan of the Islamic Foundation of South Florida discussed Abraham and unity at the Coalition of Organizations event South Florida Muslims.
Interfaith dialogues, Levine Cava said, allow people to celebrate differences in a time of division.
“We are heralded around the world as a unifying community, affirming ourselves in our diversity,” said Levine Cava.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam are known as Abrahamic religions because they are based on the values of Abraham, Fisher said. Abraham was the first person called into relationship with God. He embodied compassion, generosity, love, justice and peace, values that unite the three religions.
In Islam, Abraham started a long line of prophets and is considered God’s friend, Khan said. He was tested many times but always honored his commitment to God which made him the leader of the nations.
Abraham’s steadfast belief must have meant he knew God would give him a way not to sacrifice his son, Lauer said. The story reminds the faithful that God does not turn away, he provides.
During the sacrifice, Abraham looks up and sees an alternative, Fisher said. Congregants can look up to answer questions, resolve challenges, and correct injustices.
“[There are] so many nuances in this story that are so beautiful to see and embrace and have the wisdom to teach us in our own lives,” Fisher said. “It wasn’t just an ancient story that we all connect to.”
Abraham’s submission to God allowed him to take a leap of faith, Khan said. He was a moral leader, she said, and used justice, mercy and kindness to unite people.
“His story is the everyday story,” she said. “Our fights are everyday fights”
People of different faiths can unite in a call for justice and show the world what peace looks like, Lauer said. Abraham warmly welcomed those others in his community feared, and he was blessed with a son for it.
“The Old Testament tells us to love your neighbor,” Fisher said. “How are we going to love our neighbor if we don’t even know our neighbor? »
Lauer, who works with confirmed young people in the church, said he wanted to take more time to learn from other faith traditions.
“As Christians, [we should be] humble ourselves and take the place of the student… with no other goal than to sit down and learn from our brothers and sisters of faith,” he said.
All religious communities have come together when needed, Khan said. They connected to provide COVID-19 vaccines and respond to the Surfside tragedy.
“This is the example of Ibrahim, peace be upon him,” she said. “It’s God’s blessing that we can make [this message] continue to reach the hearts of those who are not in this space and this time.