I have always loved post. Well actually I mean personal post, ok I mean personal post that is edifying. With the advent of email arriving for me 25 years ago, I can have the same experience.
I received an email with an invitation to the ‘Elijah Interfaith Institute zoom Ramadan special, with a focus on solitude and introspection’.
I picked up a leaflet about the Elijah Institute while staying at Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem last August. I have kept an interest in their work and like many of us, they are moving to zoom to keep connected. This has the effect of allowing anyone to connect whether they are in Jerusalem or not. I wasn’t quite sure whether it would work out as we were working on at least 4 different time zones and I was feeling pressured to complete other tasks. But as I now know if something stays with me I should pay it attention. By lunchtime, I thought it may be possible so I signed up and used the commencement time as a goal to get what needed doing done.
With minutes to go before the start, I flipped up the laptop and got going.
I was greeted by Peta Jones Pellach with whom I have had some contact in relation to being a part of the Summer School. In an instant what you have only imagined is opened before you as people from around the globe join the Zoom meet. I was excited as I sat in my bedroom in London Colney, Herts with people sitting in their own spaces in Asia, North America and Europe from across the religious and every else spectre.
The first speaker was Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum speaking from Jerusalem. It was her question that remained me. In referring to Abraham and when God told him to leave Ur of the Chaldeans she asked,
“Who heard the voice beside himself?”
The second speaker was Dr Muhammad Suheyl Umar speaking from Pakistan. He spoke how this time of lockdown around the globe is making us interact with each other again and not just with our phones. I couldn’t help see the irony that the devices that may have separated us were now the devices we were using to connect.
The final speaker was Bishop Marcuzzo speaking from Nazareth. It was him quoting Augustine and perhaps my paraphrase that remained,
“In geting to know God you get to know yourself.”
In a time when people can feel separated this was a great event for bringing people together from across the globe. In a day of pressures, this lifted me far beyond them.
View the meeting by clicking on the underlined word zoom