Just One

Just One

I am putting the Agenda for an Interfaith Prayer Service, entitled, “Just One,” up for viewing on my blog site. For well over one month, I have been promoting this idea in my local community, but so far nothing all that substantial has occurred. It is my understanding that for some the idea is too radical. I have sent it to a couple of international organizations also, whom I thought may be interested. So far, I have no response, and it is getting cold for the refugees who are still homeless and moving in mass across Europe. I thought if I would share it on the internet, someone might want to pick up all or part of the ideas and use them, even to help Just One refugee family.

From my point of view, all the wars, nationalism, and military solutions to the world’s problems have failed and now is the time to consider a kinder and gentler solution to Evil, that of loving one’s enemies, of doing good to those who despitefully use us, and sitting down together at the same table in the presence of our enemies.

I know I am just an activist radical, to think like this, but if it is beneficial to just one homeless refugee family, that is enough. Please feel free to take any or all of what I have written, and use it with or without permission for human good and decency’s sake.

Below is some background concerning the process of trying to get this implemented, which has not yet happened, then the Agenda for the Interfaith Prayer event itself. If you would like a Word formatted document with color highlighting, please contact me via commenting on this document on WordPress.


John Cooper

Hello _____________________________

Thanks for asking me to further explain my plans for Tuscaloosans FOR Refugees. I capitalize FOR because that is the acronym which the Fellowship of Reconciliation goes by. I am a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the oldest Interfaith Peace and Nonviolent organization in the world, which is this year celebrating its 100th anniversary. This action is an action I am proposing partially stemming from my association with FOR, and also my long time, since 1969, beliefs in Peace and Nonviolence and social justice for all.

I proposed this event to be hosted by ______________Church, where I attend. Although the Elders at _______________ Church decided it was beyond the mission and vision of _______________ Church, as I proposed it, ________________ Church was moved to action from my suggestions and prepared a video and commentary, and had corporate prayer at ______________ Church for the refugee crisis. It is possible some of this preparation from _______________Church could be helpful in this proposal.

I realize what I am proposing is a pretty big plan, even for _____________________, but I remind you of Pope Francis’ call for every European Catholic parish to host one refugee family. What if every city in the United States and the world took in just one family? What if every faith based organization in the United States, and the world, including Christians of all persuasions, the Jewish Synagogues, and the Moslem temples, took in just one family… Just one, and Just one, starts with each of us, where we are, in our Faith based Trek. Notice that I deliberately capitalized “Just.” It is a matter of Justice, which all believers in the three great faiths care for the stranger, and the texts of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim, and if one believes “just” in humanitarianism, which I have quoted in the proposed prayer service, indicate this very thing.

I envision this as just not a Silent Prayer service, but as a seed that could grow into other cities, communities, and nations. I believe that Mercedes Benz, especially, as a major corporate presence in our community, whose Motherland is so graciously hosting many of the refugees, should participate eagerly, asking to bring in at least One refugee family and providing a job for the head of that household, even if the family cannot yet speak English, or German, even if it is just washing windows at Mercedes, cleaning bathrooms, or mowing the lawn. I believe that the University of Alabama should do the same, Just one family. I believe that the City of Tuscaloosa should do the same, Just one. I believe that ___________________ Church may wish to do the same, Just one. Other churches in Tuscaloosa may have the financial or Spiritual resources to do the same Just one. In fact, due to ___________________ asking me to clarify my request, my Vision of this is growing even greater. I believe our slogan should be “Just one.” I believe there is a “Just” God who is watching us to see if we have a heart for those for whom he had a heart, the wayfaring stranger, coming out of Egypt, the early displaced Christians, and millions and millions of poor, rat upon, sat upon, spat upon refugees who were at one time welcomed into this nation, the United States, who cried out to the world to “give us your poor.” What has happened to us? Can mankind repent of the hatred, war, and injustices which have never worked, and realize mankind’s mission is to care for the earth, to dress and keep it, in terms of the book of Genesis, and to be our Brother’s Keeper, also a concept from the book of Genesis?
My prompting is to assemble a team of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims, and humanitarians, to plan this event. Perhaps _______________ who is pretty good at putting together teams, might want to lend his expertise and name to this event. I believe it absolutely crucial for Mayor _______________ to be a part of this event. I have already been in communications with him and he has asked what time it would occur. I believe Mayor __________________will do this. If so, what an example that would be to the world, especially considering how our community was devastated by the tornado a few years ago, and how many came to help us in our crisis. We could also have a Sister City in Germany, who is hosting refugees.

Here is the proposed Mission and Vision:
We believe that to bring Thankfulness for what has been done for us in the community of Tuscaloosa after our devastation, and to share our prayers and concerns as a community for the refugees, and to garner funds to donate for those actually doing the ground work of providing for the refugees, that we as Just one city, Just one Person, should take this action, to pray and share our resources as we are prompted, even if it is to Just one.

Please let me know when you both would like to discuss this proposal. The proposed Agenda is below:


Mayor’s Welcome:
Mayor __________________________welcomes all Faith’s and even non faiths to our humanitarian event in his own words and explains the Agenda.

Formational Jewish Testamentary readings:

Ex 12:37-42

37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 39 With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.

40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come.
Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.

Second Formational Testamentary Reading:
Jer 7:1-8
7:1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Stand at the gate of the LORD’s house and there proclaim this message:

“‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD. 3 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!” 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.

Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.
Deut 10:12-11:1

12 And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

14 To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. 20 Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your forefathers who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.
Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.

Third Formational Testamentary Reading:

Deut 26:12-13

12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.
Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.
Offertory with Musical interlude: (Pianist or violinist, or both. A woman Dressed in Blue with long dress and headscarf brings bushel basket to front and each participant brings their own and their organization’s gifts…
Woman: “These are the gifts to God!”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”
Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.
Formational Christian Testamentary Readings:
Matt 25:31-46
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.
Formational Islamic Quaranic Readings:

59:9. And (in this wealth there is also a share) for those (Ansâr, the Helpers) who had settled in the city (of Madînah) and had embraced the Faith before these (Refugees arrived there). They love those who migrated to them for refuge and (who) even though poverty be their own lot, found no desire in their hearts for that which is given to them (- Refugees) but they gave them (- Refugees) preference over themselves. And (bear in mind that) those saved from the covetousness of their souls are the ones to achieve the goal.

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كَيْ لَا يَكُونَ دُولَةً بَيْنَ الْأَغْنِيَاءِ مِنكُمْ

59:7-10 The statement: “That (wealth) should not circulate among your rich people” lays down the basic principle of social economics and justice. The less privileged groups of a society are described in this and the following four verses. The wealth is in the hands of few, but this wealth has been created through the labour of both the rich and the poor, therefore the less privileged should also benefit from the wealth of the rich. This social justice was introduced by Islam in the teachings of the Holy Qur’ân and not by any western revolutionary like Marx, or Lenin, who taught corrupted forms of this basic principle. It is significant to note that the wealth of the rich is neither condemned nor are any limitations laid on them.

Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.

Formational Humanitarian Readings:

There are many challenges facing the international community today but few, in my mind, are more pressing than those of finding humanitarian solutions to refugee problems. We talk of regional conflicts, of economic and social crises, of political instability, of abuses of human rights, of racism, religious intolerance, inequalities between rich and poor, hunger, over-population, under-development and. I could go on and on. Each and every one of these impediments to humanity’s pursuit of well-being are also among the root causes of refugee problems.
Reader: Quoted From: — Poul Hartling, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 1978-1985
Audience, in unison: “Thanks to all who Love and care for the world and each other.”

Interlude: Three minutes of thought and reflection audience.

Benediction: (Mayor) “Let us go out into our community, with love, peace, and good will for all!”

Announcement of Fellowship Meal: (Host Pastor_________________)
[Tables in front containing 5 loaves of bread in a basket, and 5 fishes, One Cup with wine, and One Cup with Grape Juice, One cup with Milk, a plate of dates, and a plate of Matzos]
All are welcome to come to the table row by row and eat and drink from common food and common cup, each taking a small sip and breaking off a small piece of the food.
[This will take volunteer cup hearers, and others to replenish supplies – young men and women of different Faiths recommended…]
People are welcomed to stay to fellowship as long as desired, or to come back to the table if food is left.

About jcooperforpeace
Spiritual Director, Spirituality of Inner Peace

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