All across the political and social landscape of our city and country there are calls for unity and dialogue for an end to the violence that blights our world and our neighborhoods.
Many in our community express an urgent need to create paths that move beyond the polarizing rhetoric that has gripped our national conversation for the last eight years. One such path - carved by many faith communities throughout Philadelphia - is the Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation, now in its fifth year.
Mother Teresa once said that she was not interested in a "march against war" but that she would consider one that was "for peace." The Philadelphia PeaceWalk, which will occur on tomorrow, is just that - not a march against, but a walk for peace in our world, in our city and in our neighborhoods.
Participants in the PeaceWalk include every major faith tradition in our area. We are Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Unitarians, Bahai's, and those whose faith knows no label - all vitally interested in creating opportunities to walk in fellowship with each other, understand what binds us together, and what keeps us separated.
This year's walk will meander through Germantown into Roxborough. It will begin at a mosque and end at a synagogue, stopping along the way to pray in several churches. We will worship together, sing together, meditate in silence together, eat and drink together. The route was carefully thought out to remind us all that, in order for their to be peace and reconciliation, we each must move out of the comforts of our own houses of worship, and enter into each others. Only then can we experience once again how much we all have in common, and how easy it is to forget that.
Also, for the second year Mothers in Charge will join this year's PeaceWalk. These mothers, who bear witness to the pain and anguish that results from the violence on our streets, are a powerful force for peace in our neighborhoods.
Taking some time to walk with members of the community, whether they be friends or strangers, is another opportunity for all of us to have the dialogue we so desperately need: the one involving deeper conversations about race, and poverty, and justice; and the other about peace and reconciliation that we need to have now more than ever in this imperfect union and world of ours. We invite you to join us in this one small effort to help perfect them both. *