Cambridge: a City of Sanctuary Welcomes the Stranger

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Cambridge marked Inter-Faith week on Tuesday night with a gathering of people from many traditions of faith and philosophy to celebrate our common desire to welcome all who are new to our communities. We heard from the City of Sanctuary movement and were encouraged to sign up to their pledge, before a moving sequence of readings and reflections from nine different traditions drawing out their particular roots and reasons for sharing this common commitment to hospitality and welcome. Twice we stopped to remember quietly what we had heard and then share a word or phrase from it that had “landed” for us.

My own “take away” moment was the parable of the two hands. One is holding a nail, when the other – with a hammer – accidentally hits it, not the nail. How odd if the hammering hand were to tell the other off for getting in the way. How odd if the holding hand were to become angry with its fellow for hitting it, instead of doing what it naturally would, dropping the hammer and going to hold its suffering sister in its pain. The hands are inter-connected, part of one body. When we behave as they would not, we deny our shared humanity.

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