Touché February 24, 2017
Posted on February 24, 2017 by under Touché,


Aaro and Umar

“Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah.”

                                                                                                (Genesis 25:8-9)

Ishmael and Isaac lived apart their whole life until they came together to bury their father.  I don’t know that the conflict between these two competing sons was buried with Abraham, but their conflict is as intense in our day as that day.  The religion of Islam traces its roots through Ishmael.  The faith of Jews and Christians trace their roots through Isaac.  It’s been a bloody fight.

Aaro Rytkönen is the new director of the Al Amana Center in Oman.  He is ordained in the Lutheran church of Finland.  He takes the reign from Doug Leonard, a good friend who I know well, and Hopewell supported him as one of our missionaries.  Doug has encouraged us to continue our support for the Al Amana Center through Aaro, and we will be the first congregation in the USA where Aaro will be preaching.  I am looking forward to developing a friendship with him and hope that he develops a friendship with Hopewell.

Umar Ahmad is a friend that I have made through East Fishkill Rotary.  He is a leader in the Dutchess Interfaith Council and a leader in the Islamic Society of the Hudson Valley.  He left Pakistan to come to the United States for college.  His family had first been driven out of India into Pakistan over the conflict between Muslims and Hindus at the time of Indian independence. He has been a U.S. citizen for many years and is a retired engineer from IBM.  I have invited him to worship with us and will ask him a simple question: “How can Christians pray for Muslims in the Hudson Valley.”  He is a good man becoming a good friend.  At the lunch he will share a little of what it is like to be a Muslim in the Hudson Valley during times of so much tension and conflict.

Ishmael and Isaac got together at the grave of their father, but it seems their descendants have been apart ever since.  Aaro and Umar will come together at Hopewell this Sunday and we can pray that it opens us up to coming together in peace today.  It is a bold vision in scary times as we pray for peace in Jerusalem and around the world.

Our friend, Wesley Joseph, will share at the luncheon some of his experiences in Oman where he became friends with Aaro.  I hope you will join us for worship and the luncheon.  If you have not signed up, let Wesley know you will be there at:

Peace, Taylor