After having attended the March 4-5 World Religions weekend I came away from the two days with a profoundly new perspective and understanding of four of the world’s major religions.
Growing up Christian, I had preconceived notions as to what other non-Christian faiths’ beliefs, practices were, or more importantly, were not. After taking in two days of religious exploration, topped off with a visit to each religion’s house of worship, I came away with a new, enlightened understanding of each religion, the fundamental principles/philosophies each hold at the center of their beliefs.
Additionally, I was surprised at learning some rather revolutionary beliefs the various religions hold. For example:
The result of having taken in the two days has been rewarding and enriching, which I much enjoyed.
Prior to the weekend, I had always wondered what a Sikh man in a turban believed in...now I know.
Prior to the weekend, I had never set foot inside a Mosque, much less heard Islam’s message as gentle and compassionate towards all people, including non-Muslims and women...now I know.
Prior to the weekend, I had always wondered why the Hindu faith used such colours and gave offerings...now I know.
Finally, prior to the weekend, I had always heard of the Buddhist faith, but never knew where the religion started or that there are 10 Buddhas, not just the one as I had always thought...now I know.
When I reflect on the current political climate around the world, the passage from Mark 12:29-31 comes to me. It's through this teaching that we are challenged to remember the other, and that even though we may see things differently, we are called to love each other.
Love thy neighbour
Blood beats through every chamber, filling our bodies with hope and vision for a changed world.
Who is that anyway?
It’s not the face behind the fence, or a lovely philosophical pretense, rather, it’s the heart behind the wall or maybe the woman under the shawl.
Do we have the gall to break down the division of endless imaginary difference?
Skin difference, thought difference, word difference; raised differently, but not all that differently. Same air, same blood, same ground, same love; same idea of a life so near, without fear, we cry the same tears of joy!
The only difference is our lens. Our eyes are how we train ourselves to despise, to act unwise and to compromise our birth given value of love. Our best selves, hidden under societal mud.
When we talk to each other, we transform, removing the danger, now friend from stranger. The outsider is much easier to denigrate, form a kind of hate and eventually reverse the idea that we can’t be together as one.
All is not lost.
When we realise that it’s time to synchronise our minds for the better, that when we are together we are no longer in demise but to our surprise we are blessed with some kind of enduring sunrise moment. The day when we join hand in hand, making pacts that disband the hatred filled plans of those whose thirst for power; when that day is trumped by those who search for life’s meaning and continue to uplift with smiles beaming, that…that will be the day we know our neighbour.
That day, when we as Community of Christ embrace our name and become profane to stereotypical Christian claims that deny the truth of Jesus words, that will be the day we re-train our eyes to see through lenses of love and together our blood will beat true again. When neighbour was once the stranger, now friend.
I think, that day, is today.
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