by Dianne H. Timmering with Joe Steier
A few days ago was our first interfaith national day of prayer—an unparalleled celebration of faith traditions from across the country and the world. Joe Steier and I were nervous, often nervous before a big speech or when we feel something big is about to happen. We launched the SHC Dept. of Spirituality in 2005—a message from that still small voice that said, Bring the Spirit of God into the workplace and see the miracles I will perform for my people—miracles of love and hope. Base it on unconditional love, He said, and imperfections will dawn newness from this invitation of the heart.
So that is what we did in November of that year. Even back then, we thought God might do something explosive, even invasive into the fabric of our long-term care company to bind up broken hearts of the hurting and heal our sick, even the sickest with weary hands and wounded feet. We knew that our model was more than a silo of prayer but an unconventional intervention with the clinical team for fullness of spirit and emotional and physical wellness. We began to uncover like a sleuth in the ocean depths, the power of the listening ear, the lending of compassion for the empathy of the ailment and the simpleness of time to mend the suffering heart. Prayer or a good game of checkers could heal—afterall, it was about time and the bravery of a compassionate heart.
Our Day of Prayer was about the faith of a mustard seed because we started with the invisible Hand of nothing but that which floated on the Spirit and manifested in the savory of the spoken word. It was about the power of unconditional love even in the unavoidable imperfections of our existence; it was about celebrating the dignity and beauty of faith traditions long established; it was about the character of respect; it was about the abolition of assumption; it was about the ancient roots of compassion—the throwing away of old beliefs and the pressing into of new wisdom; it was about the outpouring of love . . . just love, because that is what God is.
It was about understanding that the House of God is His place of worship for all “Nations” (Greek word in Old Testament is ethnos defined as “peoples”) as stated in the book of Isaiah; it was about one vision of faith and the testing of a model that the sanctity of respect and a stream of love could bring faith traditions together–not “watered down” or diminished–but thriving in who we are with assurance and boldness, and a shine for the world to see that there need be no strife, just dialogue, collaboration and a willingness to hear another–to listen and to consider anew. It was in this secret beauty of one voice that was, and is perhaps, the best language of love.
They were proud to be there free to represent their faiths—Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Native American, Unitarian . . . , and we were proud to watch them and have them in “our” house, so to speak. You are always welcome, we told them. And they believed us.
The day was uncontainable, like a glistening seed after a drop of honey.
“For My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. The Sovereign Lord declares—he who gathers the exiles of Israel: I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.” (Isaiah 56:7b-8)
Please view more photos from the event on the Louisville Courier Journal website:
Louisville Courier Journal – National Day of Prayer Photo Galley