by the Rev. Virginia McNeely
What kind of God would He be
if He did not hear the
bangles ring on
an ant’s wrist as they move the earth
in their sweet
And what kind of God would He be
if a leaf’s prayer was not as precious to Creation
as the prayer His own son sang
from the glorious depth
of his soul—
And what kind of God would He be
if the vote of millions in this world could sway Him
to change the Divine
that speaks so clearly with compassion’s elegant tongue,
saying, eternally saying:
all are forgiven—moreover, dears,
no one has ever been guilty.
kind of God would He be
if He did not count the blinks
and is in absolute awe of their movements?
What a God—what a God we
(From Love Poems from God, trans. Daniel Ladinsky)
Kabir was a great religious reformer in India who synthesized Hindu, Muslim and even Christian belief. A famous artist and musician, he founded a sect that still claims to have a million followers. As Christians we might argue with his theology, but we can’t help but appreciate his true love for God and his poetic gift.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus tells his disciples that “Whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mk 9:40) If this is true for the magician who cast out demons in the name of Jesus, is it not true for the poets of other traditions who express their love for God? Is it not true for those of Muslim and Jewish and Buddhist traditions who feed the hungry, clothe the naked and minister to the sick?
Can we not look for how we are alike, coming from different faith traditions, honor our differences, and still be grateful that we as Episcopalians have a relationship with Jesus Christ and have the support of a Christian community? There are resources available in our communities to help us to do this.
There are a number of interfaith organizations in the Sacramento area. One is the Interfaith Council of Greater Sacramento (www.interfaith.org), which is composed of representatives from a number of faith traditions-- Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, Sikh, etc—who are working together to battle hate crimes and increase religious understanding. Among their current projects is a plan to put together groups of young people from different faith traditions, give them a project to do together, and then share a meal.
Another group in the Sacramento area that is promoting religious tolerance is Abraham’s Tent (www.facebook.com/abrahamstentofsacramento or www.meetup.com). This organization is made up of people of The Book—Muslims, Christians and Jews. Together they take on projects in the community and offer programs to educate one another about their faiths.
Sacramento Area Congregations Together (www.sacact.org) is a member of Pico and works for legislative reform and community improvement. The issues they address are varied and extensive.
All of these organizations welcome participation from congregations in the Sacramento area. If you are in an outlying area, consider contacting leaders of other faith traditions to share community concerns, take on projects together, and learn from one another.
With God’s help we can be like the Persian Poet Hafiz (c.1320-1389) said of himself in his poem “The Christ’s Breath”:
a hole in a flute
that the Christ’s breath moves through,
listen to this
Wed, September 26, 2012
by Thea Mangels filed under