Terrorist attacks seem to be happening more and more frequently. We had not yet come to grips with the recent bombing of a Russian jet that sent more than 250 people, including many children, to their deaths when we got news of the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Like many people in the free world, I watched the horror of the Paris attacks and thought about other recent attacks against humanity. And like many of you, I wonder just how safe are we.
As I write this column, I have just dropped off my great-grandson, Jaylen, at his school. He spent the weekend with me and had so many questions. Every time the news of the Paris attacks flashed on the television screen, he made sure to call me to the room. Jaylen is 8. He has questions that I don’t really know how to answer. But I do know this isn’t the kind of television I want him to see.
When he asks if we are safe, I tell him, “Yes” and pray that I am right. He wasn’t around when 9/11 happened. He doesn’t know the pain and fear that terrorist attack caused. I hoped he would never have to know. And now this.
Jaylen is still young enough to be afraid of the dark. Once when he told me he was scared, I told him not to worry, that God had His angels encamped around our house to keep us safe. Curiously, he went to the front door, big eyes stretched wide and peeked out. “I don’t see any angels, Grandma,” he said.
I answered him, “Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there.” That seemed to satisfy him for a while. I know the questions will come again, especially since the Paris attacks. I know he will want to know where the angels were when so many people were killed by “the bad people.”
Right now, I don’t know what I will tell him. I can only pray — for Jaylen and all our other Jaylens. I so wanted them to grow up in a different world.
And I can tell them that there are a lot of people who are working toward that better world.
People like the folks at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Temple Israel of Greater Miami, Miami Shores Baptist, Miami Shores Community and Miami Shores Presbyterian churches, who will come together 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23, for an interfaith prayer and fellowship gathering at St. Rose of Lima, 415 NE 105th St. in Miami Shores.
The event gives me great pleasure and a sense of thankfulness that in times of chaos and pain that some people still want to come together for a warm and wonderful cause.
In a news release from Temple Israel, Executive Director Joel Berger invites you to, “Join with neighboring communities of faith during the beautiful season of Thanksgiving to praise and worship God for our abundant blessings.” And might I add, being safe to have such an event.
The interfaith gathering will be a sharing of prayer, music, and fellowship that, hopefully, will become an annual gathering at rotated locations.
For admission, attendees are asked to bring a nonperishable item of food for needy families in our area. For more information call the Parish Office of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 305-758-0539.
RIVIERA PRESBYTERIAN ‘GIFTS IT FORWARD’
Riviera Presbyterian Church at 5275 Sunset Dr. has wasted no time in getting ready for Advent and the Christmas season: #rpcgiftitforward.
The Rev. Martha M. Shiverick, pastor of the church writes, “We begin the holiday season with our Community Pancake Breakfast at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. It’s free and open to all.
“Then, on the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, every member of the church will be given a card that they are to use to anonymously give a gift to someone in the community,” she writes. “Whether it be a gift card for a cup of coffee to the next person in a line at a coffee shop, raking and cleaning up someone’s yard, or paying a portion of someone’s layaway, we want to experience the real gift of Christmas — the gift of giving to others with generosity and love.”
Shiverick said on each card is a holiday greeting, a statement that the gift is from a member of Riviera Church “and a request that the person receiving the gift share photos or descriptions of the gift with us. We will celebrate the good news we have been able to share with others on Epiphany Sunday in January, when we also celebrate the magi or wise men delivering gifts to the manger.
On Dec. 6, the congregation will worship outdoors in the side yard and will be led in music by the Ohio Blue Grass band, The Forest City String Band. On the following Sundays in Advent and on Christmas Eve, portions of Handel’s Messiah will be sung by the Riviera choir and soloists and the text for the sermon will be the prophetic texts from which Handel wrote the music.
‘WHO HAS SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY?’
The Baha’i Center at 9300 S. Dixie Hwy, Suite 209, will host a public fireside discussion on the topic, “Who has spiritual authority today?” Gerald Schwartz, a local university instructor, will be the guest speaker.
Said Schwartz: “Looking at the host of calamitous, despicable events in the world, it is evident that mankind needs an educator, a material as well as spiritual educator, to whom all can respect and whose guidance is effective. The light of religion is dimmed and moral authority disintegrating. We see nations and groups battling over ideologies. When we consider the holy books of the world’s religions, we may ask, by what authority may these books be understood?”
These and other themes will be explored at the fireside discussion. The event is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Call 305-915-7247 for more information. It’s free and no funds will be solicited.
TEMPLE TO CELEBRATE ISRAELI CULTURE
You are invited to Temple Beth Sholom of Miami Beach to join in celebrating Israeli culture at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, when the Shabbat service will be led by the Nava Tehilah Ensemble.
The ensemble is an off-shoot of the Nava Tehilah Congregation in Jerusalem, a liberal, egalitarian religious community that has gained a reputation for its uplifting music.
Rooted in Middle Eastern, Hasidic, contemporary Israeli, and other ‘world’ music, Nava Tehila’s original compositions, which are alternatively celebratory, meditative, joyful and reflective, are designed to be participatory, helping the spirit to soar, said Cantor Lisa Segal.
The service is open to the public. If you go, advance reservations and payment is required for dinner and you may goon line at tbs.wufoo.com/forms/shabbat-dinner-november-20-2015/
TWO-WEEK TOUR OF JEWISH INDIA
Registration is now being taken for India: My Second Home, a two-week tour led by Dr. Nathan Katz, an internationally recognized authority and author on the Jewish experience in India. The tour, to take place beginning Feb. 16, 2016, will offer opportunities tomeet and interact with members of India’s diverse Jewish communities.
The itinerary will include New Delhi; Agra, home of the Taj Mahal; Mumbai; Jaipur, and Kochi, where travelers will visit the city’s 16th century synagogue.
The tour is fully escorted and costs $6,995 per person, double occupancy. the fee includes deluxe hotels, all meals, tours and cultural events and domestic travel throughout India. To register email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-267-5414.
MISSIONARY DAY/THANKSGIVING SERVICE
Bishop Walter H. Richardson, pastor and overseer of The Church of God Tabernacle in Liberty City, and evangelist A. Frances Nixon, president of the Missionary Board, invite the community to the annual Missionary Day/Thanksgiving service at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. The church is at 1351 NW 67th St. in Liberty City.
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