By Vicki Travis
FRANKLIN — Three groups of three Sikhs, three Muslims and three Christians met Sunday to share their faith and then, like any good gathering, share a meal.
The session was the final in a series of interfaith scripture dialogue circles — a structured time to share scriptures from each tradition.
“This was very powerful,” said Harjeev Lahil, a Sikh from Brentwood. “All three meetings were all about God and being closer to him.”
Members of the Islamic Center of Williamson County on Carothers Parkway, as host for Sunday’s session, chose the final topic: forgiveness.
The groups surrounded a table with the study guide and took turns asking questions, clarifying, asking “Does that make sense?”
“Thank you for coming to our humble mosque and sharing your faith with us,” Mohammed Fazili of the Islamic Center told the Christians, Sikhs and Muslims as they filled their plates and sat to eat.
“We hope you like our spicy food,” he laughed. “If you don’t, forgive.”
The Rev. Tracy Wells Miller, associate pastor at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Franklin, set up the sessions with Chance Dillon, a youth pastor at Harpeth Presbyterian, who has facilitated similar interfaith dialogue circles at Hillsboro Presbyterian and Brentwood United Methodist Church.
“All of us are biologically programmed to see something different from us as a threat,” she said.
The sessions aren’t about agreement, but education and understanding.
St. Paul’s hosted the first session in January with prayer as the topic. Next, at the Nashville Gurudwara, Sikhs chose ego as the topic. Ego, Christians found out, was very much like the Christian concept of sin, or what would separate a person from God.
“In the beginning, I was scared to death,” said Sally Hamdan, a Muslim from Brentwood, who said she would like to see more sessions and more people.
Sarah Webster from St. Paul’s and Shazia Fazili from the Islamic Center agree.
“This was the best one yet,” Webster said. “We were really getting down to what’s in our hearts.”
“It’s easy for a person to pick out mistakes in others,” Shazia Fazili said. “It’s not as easy to look at goodness in human nature.”
“It’s the same basic truth,” Webster said. “We’re all creatures of God, and we’re called to love each other.”
Reach Vicky Travis at 615-881-7216 or on Twitter @VTravis1.
Source tennessean.com Mar. 4, 2014