Day 13: Finding Common Ground
Today is Day 13 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to reach out in your community to do interfaith service projects. Click here for resources, family actions, and more! Click here to sign up for the daily Thirty Days of Love emails.
The leader of the Buddhist Meditation Group at my church describes practicing Buddhism as his way of finding the secret to life–the same secret that Muslims, Catholics, and Jews seek in their own faith traditions. Through my own spiritual exploration, I have realized that any self-proclaimed religious or spiritual being has found a unique and valuable secret to life.
It was not until I was a freshman in high school that I realized that my secret to life would stem from Unitarian Universalism, and not, in fact, the religion that I was born into. But I realized that by choosing to go out and find some secret, no matter how diverse our practices of exploring it may be, we all are ultimately chasing shared goals: social justice, empowerment, advocacy, and wholeness.
We all know that healthy relationships are driven by honesty and fidelity and are only possible when secrets are shared. The same is true for interfaith relationships between communities. What is service if these “life secrets” are kept? What is social justice without dialogue inspired by diverse ideas, beliefs, and ideologies? For my Girl Scout Gold Award project, I held an Interfaith Leadership Summit for high school youth to present their life secrets, spiritual investigation, and lived experiences. A summit that would, in turn, create a flow of ideas between the temples, mosques, and churches in my community.
Participants in this summit, held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, initiated dialogue, listened to speakers, and engaged in workshops designed to highlight the commonality in our diversity. They learned that you don’t have to go miles, crossing town lines, or state borders, to find a community invested in the same principles as your own. That same community could exist within the church next door or the temple across the street. And all you have to do is walk in the door.
For today’s action, put aside your differences, find common ground, and undertake an interfaith service project to better your community. Click here for resources to get you started.
Jenna is a high school senior and attends the UU Church of Reading, Massachusetts. Inspired by her beginnings in community engagement working on Luna Farm and volunteering with the ARC of Eastern Massachusetts, she has taken up the call for social justice in her school and larger community.