interfaith religious work for this week

1 Kings 17:21  “O Lord my God, let this child’s soul come into him again.”.

 

1 Kings 19:8 “And he (Elias) arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mount of God.”

Qu’ran

Sura 37, 123  And lo! Elias was of those sent.”

"There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable.”[1]

Tisha B’Av (July 20, 2010 or the ninth of Av) Tisha B’Av is a fast day similar to Yom Kippur. The Tisha B’Av fast lasts about 25 hours, beginning at sunset on the eve of Tisha B’Av and ending at nightfall the next day. Tisha B’Av also shares four additional prohibitions with Yom Kippur:  The five main prohibitions on Tisha B’Av are:

1.        No eating or drinking     2.No washing or bathing     3.No application of creams or oils     4. No wearing of leather shoes    5. No marital relations.

According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), five specific events occurred on the ninth of Av that warrant fasting:

1.        The twelve spies sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan returned from their mission. Only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, brought a positive report, while the others spoke disparagingly about the land. The majority report caused the Children of Israel to cry, panic and despair of ever entering the "Promised Land". For this, they were punished by God that their generation would not enter the land. Because of the Israelites’ lack of faith, God decreed that for all generations this date would become one of crying and misfortune for their descendants, the Jewish people. (See Numbers Ch. 13–14)

2.        The First Temple built by King Solomon and the Kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC and the Judeans were sent into the Babylonian exile.

3.        The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, scattering the people of Judea and commencing the Jewish exile from the Holy Land.

4.        Bar Kokhba’s revolt against Rome failed in 135 AD. Simon bar Kokhba was killed, and the city of Betar was destroyed.

5.        Following the Roman siege of Jerusalem, the razing of Jerusalem occurred the next year. A Temple was built in its stead to an idol.

Other events that are mourned on Tisha B’Av

6.        Jews were expelled from England in 1290.

7.        The Alhambra Decree of 1492, expelling the Jews from Spain, took effect on the 7th of Av, just two days before Tisha B’Av

8.        On the eve of Tisha B’Av 1942, the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.

The commemoration of Elijah (July 20, 2010) – the Eastern and Western Christian Church  Elijah (Elias in Greek)  is a Hebrew prophet of the 9th century BC. He appears in the Hebrew Bible, Talmud, Mishnah, New Testament, and the Qur’an. According to the Books of Kings, Elijah raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and ascended into heaven in a whirlwind (either accompanied by a chariot and horses of flame or riding in it).  In the Book of Malachi, Elijah’s return is prophesied "before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.”  Early Christian tradition in general held that his function was fulfilled by John the Baptist, although Elijah himself appears in glory with Moses at the Transfiguration, to testify to Jesus’ mission (Mark 9, 4). [2]

Mormon Pioneer Day  July 24, 2010   In Latter-day Saint theology, the name-title Elias is not always synonymous with Elijah and is often used for people other than the biblical prophet. According to Joseph Smith, "The spirit of Elias is first, Elijah second, and Messiah last. Elias is a forerunner to prepare the way, and the spirit and power of Elijah is to come after, holding the keys of power, building the Temple to the capstone, placing the seals of the Melchizedek Priesthood upon the house of Israel, and making all things ready; then Messiah comes to His Temple, which is last of all" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 340).  People to whom the title Elias is applied in Mormonism include Noah, the angel Gabriel (considered to be the same person as Noah), Elijah, John the Baptist, John the Apostle, and an unspecified man who was a contemporary of Abraham (See LDS Bible Dictionary s.v. Elias).  Pioneer Day commemorates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, where the Latter-day Saints settled after being forced from other locations in the eastern United States.  On Pioneer Day, some Latter-day Saints walk portions of the Mormon Trail.

Lailat al Mi’raj  (July 8, 2010) – Islam  The Isra begins with Muhammad resting in the Kaaba in Mecca (621 AD), when the archangel Gabriel comes to him, and brings him the winged steed Buraq.   The Buraq then carries Muhammad to the Masjid Al Aqsa the "Farthest Mosque", which many Muslims believe is "the Noble sanctuary" (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. Muhammad alights, tethers Buraq to the al-Buraaq Wall, and leads the other prophets of Abrahamic descent in prayer. He then re-mounts Buraq, and in the second part of the journey, the Mi’raj, is taken to the heavens, tours the circles of heaven, and speaks with the earlier prophets such as Ibrāhīm (Abraham), Musa (Moses), and `Īsā (Jesus), and then is taken by Gabriel to God. According to traditions, Allah instructs Muhammad that Muslims must pray fifty times a day; however, Moses tells Muhammad that it is very difficult for them and they could never do it, and urges Muhammad to go back several times and ask for a reduction, until finally it is reduced to five times a day.

Asalha Puja (July 26, 2010) – Buddhism It was not until two months after Buddha attained enlightenment (527 BC) that he delivered his first sermon (the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta) to his first five disciples. This sermon brought into being the Buddhist religion. The main theme involves the Four Noble Truths: suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of suffering, and the way to end suffering. These truths are universal truths. In the First Truth, the Buddha explained that in any existence one is bound to suffer and be subject to change, which is the normal condition of life. You cannot be with your lover forever. One day a separation will happen as you grow older, become weaker and die. The Second Truth covers the cause of suffering. Quite logically, the Buddha explained suffering in terms of cause and effect. Only through the destruction of the causes of existence will one be able to remove suffering. The Third and the Fourth Truths show the way out from suffering. This will bring one to the state of perfect calm and bliss, a complete freedom from all forms of suffering. One can reach this level by following the Middle Way, which consists of right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.  The day after Asalha Puja (a day spent listening to sermons, walking, and praying), Lent (a 3 month retreat from the world) begins. [3]

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