Pray for Peace

June 4, 2017

“Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, united in religion, but He intended to test you in what He has given you; so race to all that is good.”                                         – Holy Quran 48th verse of chapter 5

 

Islamic Scholar Scott Alexander shared this verse with us when he was a guest speaker at St. John’s on May 13th.  An audience member had commented about his experience sharing worship with Islamic and Jewish communities and observed, “We are more alike in our beliefs than we are different.”  Alexander then quoted the Quran verse above – which inspired further discussion.  Is it possible to respect each other’s differences and allow each person to follow their own path?  And then, how do we “race to all that is good” or as different translations have it, “compete with each other in righteousness” or “vie one with another in good works” ?

Alexander was challenging us to examine our reaction to the concept of “different.”  Can we look at real or perceived differences and let go of the need to argue, to alienate, or to force changes?  He brought up the idea of language: baby animals are born able to communicate, but, for humans, several years pass before babies can speak the language of their parents and community.  That hard-won gift of language unites us as a community and gives us identity, but diversity of language around the world divides us, emphasizing our differences.  How can I get to know you and love you if I cannot understand what you are saying?  Can I see (and hear) that you are different and open my heart to you?

Inspired by these ideas, we move towards Pentecost Sunday: a celebration of the Holy Spirit, in wind and fire, granting the disciples the ability to pass on God’s message of love without the barrier of language.

So join us this Sunday in a flurry of wind and symbolic flames and sing with gusto in a multitude of languages the beautifully simple song “Dona Nobis Pacem” that translates into a heartfelt “Grant Us Peace.”

And…. don’t forget to wear RED! (We didn’t!)

 

Conversation on Islam and Christianity

May 13, 2017
5:00 pmto6:00 pm

St. John’s hosts “Conversations that Matter:  Islam and Muslims in the Current Global Context” on Saturday, May 13 at 5:00 p.m.. The talk will be led by Scott C. Alexander, Ph.D., associate professor of Islamic Studies and director, Catholic-Muslim Studies at Catholic Theological Union. This event is free and open to the public.

Darwin Day 2017

Don’t miss this annual international celebration of Charles Darwin!

On Saturday, February 11 we welcome the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, past Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, to speak on the topic “Science and Faith a Bishop/Biologist Embraces Both.” The evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. with primordial soup and a selection of songs celebrating science. A lecture and curated discussion will follow. jefferts-schori-ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori is the former Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. She was the first woman elected as a primate in the Anglican Communion. Katharine holds a B.S. in biology from Stanford University, an M.S. and Ph.D. in oceanography from Oregon State University, an M.Div. from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and several honorary doctoral degrees. She is also an active, instrument-rated pilot.

Advent Retreat: God Disguised as Your Life

Often, the last place we look for God is in the humdrum of our everyday lives. And yet, as author Paula D’Arcy reminds us, this is precisely where God is revealed to us.

St. John’s Advent Mini-Retreat is designed to help us to pay attention to God’s presence and action in our lives. Our gently paced morning together will include guided meditation, collage, silent prayer and reflection, journaling and optional sharing.

Facilitator: Deacon Patt Moser

Date: Saturday, December 3
Check-in and coffee: 9:30 AM
Program: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM.
Pre-registration is required: Contact deacon@stjohnschicago.com