Today is the first day of Eid al-Fitr, or the breaking of the fast, a two-day celebration by Muslims at the end of Ramadan, the 30-day period of fasting and prayer, much like our Christian observance of Lent when we remember the 40-day period Jesus spent in the wilderness.
The word “Ramadan” comes from the Arabic ramad, meaning scorching or dry. Eid is also a time when Muslims are to fulfill one of the commandments given by Allah, the Arabic word for God, by zakat, or charity to the poor.
It is a terrible tragedy that this year’s Ramadan and Eid are marked by escalating violence between extremists in Israel and Gaza, who abuse religion by using it as a basis for claims of political power. Jerusalem, a spiritual center of the three Abrahamic faiths, should be a place of peace, not violence.
Prayer for the Day
We are troubled by what we see around us, O Lord,
And we sometimes wonder if you hear our prayers.
We are anxious and at times fearful of the world around us
For events impinge on our hearts and minds.
Help us to understand that in spite of all, you are here
To give us hope and strength in a time of despair.
In the name of him who is your embodiment of hope and love,
Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.
Thoughts for the Day
I was only the more anxious to make Jerusalem a city like the others, where several races and several beliefs could live in peace; but I was wrong to forget that in any combat between fanaticism and common sense the latter has rarely the upper hand.
Marguerite Yourcenar, novelist, essayist (1903-1987)
Oh Jerusalem, the city of sorrow
A big tear wandering in the eye
Who will halt the aggression
On you, the pearl of religions?
Who will wash your bloody walls?
Nizzar Qabbani, Syrian poet (1923-1998)
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, and who shall stand in God’s holy places?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not swear what is false,
They will receive a blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of rescue.
Psalm 24: 3-5