Thinking in harmony

By Vinal Van Benthem | December 5, 2013

Bev and Trudy are friends. They work for the same company, often spending lunchtimes together shopping or running errands. They live near one another and take the same bus, usually arriving at the office laughing and out of breath. Both are active in community outreach — Bev with a group of people in the planning stages of building a shelter for homeless men; Trudy on the board of an organization that collects and distributes winter coats to school children in the area.

The fruits of their labor — both 9 to 5 and volunteer — are many. The shelter that Bev’s group is building will house 25 men and offer 12-step and other resources to many more, and just last month, Trudy’s organization distributed 52 coats to children who would otherwise have gone without. Each is committed to “… judge[ing] the poor with justice…” and to “ … judge[ing] aright for the land’s afflicted,” and their work will continue to serve the needs of the oppressed and marginalized for many winters to come. In fact, Trudy and Bev are such good friends and work so well together that many people are surprised to learn that one is Catholic and the other Jewish.

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another …”  While as Christian and Jew, Bev and Trudy practice their religions differently, they continue to worship God in harmony with one another with wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and fear of the Lord — and God is present. “A wolf and a lamb, a leopard and a kid, a calf and a young lion and a cow and a bear — if all these can live together in peace,” they’re quick to point out, “then surely two secretaries, one Jewish and one Catholic, should have no problem at all!” 

Hanukkah began on Thanksgiving Day this year, and Christmas is only 2 1/2 weeks away. As I write these words world leaders continue to discuss ways to bring about peace in the Middle East. With them we pray: “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant [us] to think in harmony with one another.” Amen … 

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister, retreat leader, spiritual director and published writer and poet.  

Related Posts

Scroll to Top