Night after night the news reports break our hearts. Scores of unaccompanied migrant children are warehoused on our borders as politicians posture rather than problem solve. Teenagers -- Israeli and Palestinian -- are brutally beaten and killed as the Middle East conflict escalates. And the epidemic of gun violence takes 11 young lives and wounds 82 others over the Fourth of July weekend in Chicago alone.
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children."
These words of Nelson Mandela connect with deep resonance to the truth that our children are the ones who are sacrificed when we practice bigotry, tribalism, revenge and escalation.
Whether we are in the Holy Land calling for retaliation against the other side; in Murietta blocking unaccompanied child refugees fleeing harm's way in their native Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador; or using firearms to settle differences in Urban America, our children are the ones suffering from our inhumanity to those who are "other."
Albert Einstein is alleged to have said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Peace in the Middle East, sensible immigration reform and humanitarian relief for child refugees, and peace from gun violence will never take place until we think differently than when these problems were created.
The world's wisdom traditions teach that fasting and praying renew one's mind and alter our living. It is in that hope for renewal, and in search of the wisdom to act our world into a new way of being, that we at All Saints Church in Pasadena will join our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers on July 15, 2014, for a day of worldwide fasting and praying.
Praying that we may think in ways that move us away from bigotry, tribalism, revenge, and escalation -- for the sake of our children. And fasting from all that lures us into collaboration with systems of violence, oppression and marginalization -- for the sake of our children.
Because all children are our children. And there can be no keener revelation of our souls than the way in which we treat them.