Campus Ministry and Mount Mercy University President Laurie Hamen hosted a prayer service in the Chapel of Mercy Thursday—an afternoon ecumenical gathering meant to emphasize respect for all faith traditions.
An Imam from the local mosque was the featured guest. That was by intention, as rhetoric in our public discourse has turned dark, with one presidential candidate even calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. I liked the service, partly because I agree with the sentiment behind it. It also included this video from Pope Francis in which he calls for respect among religions.
And, during the service one of my favorite hymns, “The Prayer of Saint Francis” was sung. Sadly, I sang along, and for that, universe, I apologize.
Following the service, I took advantage of the chance to sign the Mercy Door in the chapel, a replica of a special jubilee door opened at The Vatican in honor of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I felt a little funny signing, because I was putting my name under a “pledge” to do an act of mercy each month.
Another MMU faculty member signs the Mercy door.
Today, its Jan. 15. Half a month is left and I have to figure out how to be deliberately merciful, and then try to carry that on throughout 2016. I’m sure my CO 101 students could suggest an idea, but of course “giving” a good grade is not a true act of mercy because it doesn’t aid the recipient. Still, it wasn’t an intention to do an act of mercy, it was a pledge. That feels like a serious promise. I’ll have to think about that.
Anyway, I was glad to be there, to hear from Pope Francis, to sing a song that reflect the ideas of Saint Francis and then to hop on my bike—Francis—to ride home. Somehow, the pretty sunset on campus seemed to fit the whole mood. Where there is mercy, let there be hope.