Written by Mara Bowman
Although LCM really thrives in our work at Grace University Lutheran Church, we’ve also been engaging the campus community as a whole. Interfaith work has been a growing edge in the LCM community and this semester, LCM has specifically been working with Hillel, the Jewish student group on campus, and the Muslim Student Association (MSA), so here’s a little update on what we’ve been up to!
Most recently, in partnership with Grace, LCM & MSA co-hosted an interfaith dinner. We were happy to see more than 80 people come, where each table individually had their own faith conversations based on a series of prompts that were provided. Then just this last Sunday, MSA & LCM celebrated the end of our semester with an Earth Day event. In our shared mission of being caretakers of creation, our plan was to spend time together at Minnehaha Falls, cleaning up trash and just enjoying the outdoors with each other!
A couple weeks ago, LCM was invited to an Interfaith Shabbat hosted by Hillel. LCM students got to participate in a Shabbat service, as well as meet students from the nearly six other faith groups on campus that were represented at the event. Interfaith work also looks like taking a moment to sit and learn about a religious practice different from your own. Sometimes it looks like just showing up for other groups on campus when they host events.
So why do interfaith work? The concept of interfaith focuses on conversation and coming together amidst difference. But I think what we find amidst these conversations is that religions have a lot more in common than we realize. LCM is really grateful for the ways that other faith communities have engaged with us this school year and as we reach the end of the semester, it’s exciting to see the possibilities for interfaith work that are developing in the coming year.
Through these interfaith conversations, we’ve discerned that we, as faith communities, all feel called by God to seek peace in the world. When we unite amidst this common goal, we find that separate religions do not have to be a barrier, but a mechanism for change in the world. God can exist in many ways. By working with other religious groups, we can learn about the truths of other people, which don’t have to contradict or be in conflict with our own. Instead, we can be empowered together in that we each have found spiritual connection in our world, and we can use that common ground to create community.