As a Christian leader in Fresno, our Bible tells us to “seek the shalom of the city” as well as “pray for it, for if it prospers, you too will prosper” Jeremiah 29:7. Shalom means to have peace, health, prosperity and justice. We, as Christians, should be seeking this daily.
So when I read the letter that was written to our Muslim friends this week, the message of that letter is an affront to our call to shalom. It was not just an attack on our Muslim community, it was on the entire community.
Jesus also shared the story of the Good Samaritan. His message was to show that everyone is our neighbor, thus we must display love, even to those that are of various faiths, ethnicities and other populations. Therefore, the Muslim community is my neighbor; the Jewish community is my neighbor; the homeless are my neighbors; those in poverty are my neighbors; the undocumented are my neighbors, and so many more.
I encourage my other Christian leaders in our city to stand with me as I stand with our Muslim friends as we all seek shalom in Fresno.
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Artie Padilla, Executive Director, Every Neighborhood Partnership, Fresno