I love to walk in the evening and to track the moon as it grows from a silver sliver low on the western horizon near sunset to an enormous golden globe rising on the darkened eastern horizon and then shrinking into nothing before the sliver reappears.
Some years ago, I paid special attention to the arrival of the September new moon because it marked the beginning of the Muslim month of Ramadan and I had made a commitment to myself to join my Muslim sisters and brothers around the world in a month of fasting.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, is a time when faithful Muslims around the world go without food or drink from dawn until dark. They devote themselves to spiritual cleansing and renewal and to acts of charity.
Let me be clear. I am not a Muslim, except in the literal sense of the word – someone who seeks to surrender their life to Allah, the Arabic word for God. I am a Christian, an Episcopal priest.
But for nearly two decades I have given my life to promoting interfaith cooperation for peace, justice and healing in communities all over the world.
During that time I have developed a deep respect for the dedication of faithful Muslims, many of whom I am still privileged to count as friends and colleagues. From them I have learned a great deal about what it means to be a good person. I have seen their agony as their religion is hijacked by violent extremists. I have seen their fear as members of their communities are harassed, attacked, detained.
Our world is in such a perilous state. Peace loving people must stand together. So, I committed myself to fast during Ramadan because I wanted to stand in solidarity with the vast majority of Muslims all over the world who yearn for a world of peace, justice and healing. To say to them that what threatens you threatens me. And that what blesses you might bless me as well. And that, together, we might be a blessing to our wounded world.