“I am Joseph Your Brother!” ~ Genesis 45:4
On December 16th on Fountain Square, an interfaith prayer service was planned by a group of women from AJC of Cincinnati, Christ Church Cathedral and Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. This Biblical quote was one of many speeches and prayers said by a committed group of women from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh faiths in response to the growing climate of intolerance and violence. The significance to this Biblical passage is that it was quoted by Pope John XXIII in 1960 in a historical moment between the Jewish and Christian faiths. Pope John XXIII was presented with the Torah scrolls for saving the lives of Jews during the Holocaust. He responded with the statement, "We are all sons of the same Heavenly Father. Among us there must ever be the brightness of love and its practice." He concluded by quoting Genesis 45:4 by stating, "I am Joseph, your brother." From Scripture, Joseph's brothers were seeking refuge in a foreign land, not knowing they had to plead with the brother they had rejected. Yet, Joseph responded and welcomed them. We are challenged again today with the refugee at our door. How are we going to treat them? The prayer service brought solidarity across faiths in hopes of peace and unity. Together through their prayers and songs, they demonstrated the common language that all faiths share in regards to the love we should have for our brothers and sisters.
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" ~ Psalm 133:1