Monday, August 26, 2019

Israel's annual Sunday as Trialogue

25.08.2019 Israel Sunday, St. Mary's Church

The Truth of the Other

"Love your neighbor, he is the same as you" - most people know this sentence, some with slight variations. But the message formulates a connecting value beyond religious boundaries. The above quote is from the Torah and is translated as "like yourself". The main point is the respectful interaction with each other. But what is the highest law? 

This question was the topic of the Israel Sunday, 25 August, in the St. Marienkirche in Berlin-Mitte. The day is an integral part of the Protestant church calendar and focuses on the Judeo-Christian dialogue and the solidarity between church and Israel. This year, Pastor Corinna Zisselsberger broadened the view and invited not only Esther Hirsch, Jewish cantor of the House of One, but also Osman Örs, Imam of the House of One, to participate in the organization of the divine service. The hope is that understanding and peace will grow from personal relationships between people of different religions and traditions. 

The quote "...he is like you" refers, among other things, to the first book of Moses," says cantor Esther Hirsch. The first human being, Adam, can be found there in the Creation Report. Literally translated, Adam was an "earthling", a creator out of the earth. Thus all humans after him are from the same earth. This commandment is of extraordinary importance not only on the Jewish and Christian sides, but also in Islam. It is no different when one considers the commandment of the uniqueness of God.

שְׁמַע יִשְְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָד- "Hear Israel! The Eternal, our God, the Eternal is one," it says in the Torah in the so-called Sh'ma Israel. Imam Osman Örs draws the following comparison from a Muslim point of view: God's majesty also shows itself in the diversity of his creatures. A mosquito, for instance, often seems insignificant to man, even annoying. Their filigree physique, however, is witness to the craftsmanship of their creator.
"Step back a bit and make room for the truth of the other," said Imam Osman Örs in the divine service. The other's point of view could also be an enrichment of one's own point of view. A thought-provoking sentence in view of the social atmosphere in Germany, in which at present above all the divisive is emphasized. 
"It begins with listening," said Pastor Corinna Zisselsberger. The Sch'ma Israel begins with listening to God and real dialogue begins with interest, a question and listening to one another. To talk to each other instead of talking about each other is thus the aim of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim dialogue. Seeing a creature loved by God opposite leads to empathy and solidarity in the face of increasing attacks and assaults on Jewish and Muslim people in Berlin. "Listen... and you will love", it says in the Sch'ma Israel. "Love is indivisible and it is enough for everyone. [...] We are all called to show others: 'You are not alone. You are our brothers and sisters. For you are like us," said Pastor Corinna Zisselsberger in the trialogical sermon on Israel Sunday.