Interfaith Vigil at Anoor Mosque in Sympathy for New Zealand

My name is Chris Buice, I am minister of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. My old Quaker seminary professor, Lonnie Valentine, used to say, “If peace is possible anywhere, it is possible everywhere.” One of the reasons I know peace is possible everywhere is because I see it right before my eyes. I see people of all faiths gathered together in peace to support each other during a time of grief, sadness and loss but also a time of recommitment to common values.

The man who killed 50 people and injured many others in New Zealand is in custody tonight. He cannot hurt anyone anymore but his ideology can; the ideology of white supremacy; the ideology of white nationalism; the ideology of hatred, intolerance and Islamaphobia. There are a lot of people spreading hate all over the Internet. So we must spread love. There are many people posting polarizing messages to the whole world. So we must work for unity. Where people sow fear we must bring faith. Where there are violent acts of cowardice we must bring nonviolent acts of courage.

The prophet Isaiah envisioned a day when “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb: and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: the calf and the lion, and the sheep shall abide together, and a little child shall lead them.”

And so we are inspired by the leadership of our young people in the Seed of Abrahams program, Jews, Muslims, Christians and more, working together to feed the homeless, to make gloves and scarves and provide winter clothing to those in need, to work together for peace…but also to have fun.

I had the privilege of watching a Seeds of Abraham open mic talent show where there was a first prize and a second prize and a third prize. My first thought was, “I am not so sure this is a great idea pitting the world’s religions against each other in a talent show.” But then two girls from my church won and I was like “Yeah!”

More importantly I was impressed with the talent of all the kids and their ability to not get caught up in competition but to embrace peaceful cooperation. Let’s do the same. Our children are leading. Let’s follow them.

Mosque Vigil