“We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I’m an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” –Pope Francis
Recently I told a friend about my work at UU Montclair and how much I was enjoying it. He seemed surprised. “You’re not particularly religious, are you?” he asked. Of course I hastened to explain that this was not a church like the ones he probably knew. As I had often done in the past, I described myself as a “recovering Catholic” to make sure that I would not be associated with the Christian faith I was raised in.
And yet, I’m becoming less and less comfortable with drawing such clear lines between “us” and “them.” Last fall, I attended a 3-day workshop inNew York Citywith the title “Music That Makes Community.” The facilitators and most of the participants were Christians, and I rarely felt out of place. It quickly became very obvious that what we had in common was overwhelmingly more important than what separated us. Theological distinctions turned out to be meaningless as we sang together and shared our experiences leading music programs in our respective congregations.
In this spirit, we are planning to host an interfaith music festival in the fall. We are going to invite choirs from other congregations in our community – Christian, Jewish, or otherwise – to come together and sing at UU Montclair. No expectations of converting anybody, no need for competition – just a joyful celebration of music (sacred or secular) in the hope of getting to know one another a little better. We will do good, and meet one another there.
Have a great summer!