Representatives from several different religious groups came together to celebrate the National Day of Prayer in an interfaith ceremony at the base chapel last week.
Lt. Col. Sam Tucker, 72nd Air Base Wing chaplain, read an excerpt from the president’s proclamation, “In times of steady calm and extraordinary change alike, Americans of all walks of life have long turned to prayer to seek refuge, demonstrate gratitude and discover peace. Sustaining us through great uncertainty and moments of sorrow, prayer allows us an outlet for introspection, and for expressing our hopes, desires and fears.
“It offers strength in the face of hardship, and redemption when we falter. Our country was founded on the idea of religious freedom, and we have long upheld the belief that how we pray and whether we pray are matters reserved for an individual’s own conscience. On National Day of Prayer, we rededicate ourselves to extending this freedom to all people.”
Seven religious representatives took part in the ceremony offering prayers of peace, gratitude, protection and service to others.
Second Lt. Sara Piland, chaplain candidate, and Deacon Jim Black, from the Tinker Chapel, offered prayers for leadership and peace for the nation and the world.
Rabbi Vered Harris, from the temple B’nai Israel said that the National Day of Prayer also coincided with Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Millions of Jews were murdered who had hope, but there were many who had no hope, and they did not survive,” she said. “Hope is connected to God.”
Adam Soltani, executive director for the Council on American Islamic Relations in Oklahoma City, reflected on the nation’s freedom of religion guaranteed to all through the U.S. Constitution. “Diversity is all part of God’s divine plan that we should cherish and celebrate and not divide, but put an end to strife and live in the law of love,” he said.
Sabi Singh of the Sikh Gurdwara of Oklahoma talked of harmony and unity and the celebration of diversity in the United States. “Creation is of the Creator,” he said. “Who is good and who is bad? The clay is the same, only the potter has refashioned it in different ways.”
Dr. George Cooper, corresponding secretary for the Baha`i faith of Oklahoma City, said prayer is a conversation with God and offered a prayer for America.
Rev. Kris Ladusau, Buddhist Dharma Center of Oklahoma, said, “When we meet people, let us see them as brothers and sisters and pray as one for love and peace on earth. Let us be grateful for all we’ve been given … one peaceful world through health, freedom, love and justice.”
“Spirituality is a common denominator,” said Tech. Sgt. Andre Thomas, superintendent of Tinker Chapel operations. “We are diverse and we can express ourselves religiously with freedom. Celebrate the freedom that belongs to all Americans. I encourage you all to mobilize in prayer to grow and be one with faith.”