Last Monday we held an evening of Scriptural Reasoning in St Martin’s Hall. This is a tool for inter-faith dialogue as those from different faith communities come together to read and reflect on their scriptures. The purpose is to explore the texts and their possible interpretations across faith boundaries, and learn from one another in the spirit of hospitality
We set out nine round tables in St Martin’s Hall with 10 places at each of the tables and each table was filled with a mixture of Christians, Jews and Muslims. I had been told by many how exciting Scriptural Reasoning was but I had not expected to be so inspired. We chose for our theme migration and each of the three faiths present expounded a piece of scripture. The passage from both the Hebrew Bible and the Qur’an told the story of Moses fleeing from Egypt and arriving in the land of Midian and meeting his wife to be by the well. The two accounts had similarities and subtle differences. It was intriguing, allowing us around the table to ask questions about Moses and our different faith’s response to the foreigner or stranger. The New Testament passage was Luke 25.34-40. ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me,.’ I familiar passage to Christians but in this context leading to deep questions about what was meant by the division of the sheep from the goats and the whole notion of judgment, goodness, heaven and hell in our different faiths. Huge subjects. It was truly thought provoking.
Yesterday I received an e-mail from Shahzad Ahmed, the Muslim Imam I sat next to at my table. “I pray you are well. It was indeed a great pleasure to meet you at the scriptural reasoning event at St Martins. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and the opportunity to speak to people from different faiths on such important issues. I would be truly honoured to welcome you at our mosque”
Revd Richard Carter