“United we stand, divided we fall”
Students gathered together Tuesday afternoon over a delicious meal of soup and salad at the Interfaith Lunch. Center for Religious & Spiritual Life Director Matilda Rose Cantwell facilitated a meeting that aligned with the spirit of Smith College: celebrating individuality while cultivating togetherness.
Focus was first turned inward in a guided meditation. Matilda asked students to reflect on an experience during their break that revealed to them “the sacred,” in whatever form that may be. Each student may have envisioned something, or someone, different when meditating on “the sacred.” Yet when asked to partner up and share their experiences, the different faiths of attendees did not divide them. Rather, the shared sacredness of their reflections were a uniting force.
This is the foundation of the Interfaith Lunch. It is a space to be close to your faith and close to your peers. It is a space to celebrate what makes you different from one another and appreciate what makes you alike. For those of us that do not celebrate a particular faith, Interfaith Lunch is an opportunity to gain insight to the ways religion is braided into our campus community. Students wrote each other blessings or well-wishes in journals provided by the CRSL.
In the face of the recent and tragic school shootings in Benton, Parkland, and Lexington Park, amongst others, Matilda prompted the Interfaith Lunch to discuss the way school shootings connect to systemic violence. How can faith play a role in making sense of these seemingly senseless tragedies? Do our faiths give us guidance on how to offer assistance? For students of faith at Smith, religious and activist identities are not separate, but intertwined. Yacine Fall ‘21 and Leah Parker-Bernstein ‘18 emphasized that in regards to mass shootings in schools, the platform belongs to high school students. Where we can offer support, resources, and collective action, we should do so. While these young leaders go forth, strong and courageous, we stand united to magnify their voice and message.
Students of all faiths, or none, are encouraged to join in the Bodman Lounge at the Helen Hills Hills Chapel on Tuesdays at noon for the Interfaith Lunch. Meals are cooked in the Chapel kitchen and served with labels according to food allergies.