From the Director

Shem Center For Interfaith Spirituality

Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality
Joseph Kilikevice, Founding Director
Steven G. Miller, Assistant Director

Another Christmas Message, 2023

“Offer your dry, hypocritical, agnostic prayer to God, for God in his mercy accepts bad coin.”
— Jalal al-Din Rumi

In the midst of grief over thousands of deaths among both Jews and Palestinians, the children of Gaza are still capable of smiles after weeks of waiting while bargaining to exchange hostages for prisoners bring hope to waiting families and to us who have waited with them. Abraham’s family of faiths, Jews, Christians and Muslims all know something of such moments as differences are momentarily set aside and some loved ones return. While wanting to protect them from the horrors of human hatred and retribution, it is the children who bring us a message of hope that shines through their smiles.

Those of us who observe and celebrate Christmas look for ways to protect our children from suffering and harm, yet it is they who bring us some longed for holiday joy. Hope somehow remains as lies and betrayal trash our hopes for a world at peace. As one disappointment after another fill the news, it is the Prophet Isaiah who brings the good news that “a child is born and a son is given to us.” It is the innocence and smiling faces of children who bring us a proclamation that we have another chance at life.

As a people struggling to be united, we come together to offer our prayers to heal our deeply broken world, even if a dry, hypocritical and agnostic prayer is all we can summon. We are left with a question. Are there enough of us with enough hope to continue to believe in the goodness of life that belongs to all people everywhere, no exceptions? Is respect, compassion, justice and love the birthright of all people everywhere?

May we find enough bad coin among us to cash it in for the Creator’s ongoing mercy.

The angel who listens
for our proclamation of peace in
today’s deeply troubled

In prayer for a world at peace,

— Joseph Kilikevice

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Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality
708 North Harvey Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302

(708) 848-1095

Photo Credits: Emory Mead, Stephen B. Starr, Joseph Kilikevice

The Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality website is awarded a 2022 American Digital Design Award for excellence in design and user experience.

2022 American Digital Design Awards