Today’s blog invites us to explore what “church” might look like if we were to set aside our perceived separations and judgments of each other.
Dreaming a Big Dream
Today’s blog continues the discussion of Jesus’ teachings about love and the invitation to Oneness. If we really believe that we are One with God as Jesus came to understand and live in that love as Jesus commanded, then even our religious affiliations become suspect. Does this mean we have to throw our religious upbringing, beliefs and practices out with the bathwater? I don’t think so. I have been accused of being a dreamer and of living in a pie in the sky world….but indulge me as I dream a big dream of what church might look like if we set aside our separations and decided to live from a place of love:
Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged
First, we would stop judging. We would stop judging our beliefs as right and everyone else’s as wrong. Instead, we would seek the love and truth that is inherent in EVERY religious tradition and honor this as sacred. We would seek to know more about each other, seek to understand the beliefs behind our practices and recognize that we are really not different from each other, we are merely learning how to love in the best way that we know how through the beliefs and practices we were taught.
Before pointing out the speck in your brother’s eye…
When we are tempted to point out the non-loving actions of another person’s faith, we will instead look within our own traditions for all of the ways we are non-loving. We will accept responsibility for our own temptation to judge, criticize, condemn, hold ourselves up as better or more saved and work toward fixing our own problems. We will examine our own practices and doctrines for the gaps between love and fear and work toward mending those gaps. We will examine the places in our own traditions where we create separation and work toward bringing that into Oneness.
For Those with Eyes to See
We will recognize that each person’s journey toward love is unique and that we all get there eventually and in our own time. We will open our eyes to the truth inherent in every religion and the love that resides in the hearts of every person. We will attune our vision to seeing this love and this truth and honor it as sacred thereby allowing ourselves to see past the perceived separations.
Keep Holy The Sabbath Day
If we set aside the perceived separations between our religious practices and traditions, we would honor every religion’s chosen practices as sacrament – a vehicle through which we give honor to God and are open to God’s grace. We would baptize, receive communion, confess our sins, lay teffilin, recite our mantras, whirl our dervishes, attend sweat lodge, call in the four directions, etc. recognizing that all are valid and honored ways of connecting more deeply with love.
Heal the Sick, Clothe the Naked, Feed the Hungry, Set Captives Free
We will recognize that in every religious tradition is the call to serve. We will work together for the common good and do so from a place of respect, honor, acceptance and love.
5) I believe in One God
By whatever name you call it! If we really believe in ONE GOD, then when are we ever NOT worshipping this God….no matter what the individual religious traditions choose to call that God? Whether we call this God: Abba, YHWH, Elohim, Allah, Allaha, Brahma, Rama, Krishna, Christ, Shekinah, Asherah, Radha, Durga, Mata, Pele, Kali, Adonai, Apollo, Ganesha, Lakshmi, Innana, etc. etc. etc. we will honor every name as sacred and a reflection of that which NONE OF US can ever really name or experience fully.
Teachers and Sons of God
Here’s the tricky one. Every religion has its teacher and every religion wants to say their teacher is the best, the only one, the chosen one, the anointed one, the Son/Daughter of God. What would happen if for just a moment, we set aside our temptation to separate – to believe that we are right and everyone else is wrong and gave honor to every teacher as bearing a seed of truth? What if we were open to the possibility that God sends us many teachers….teachers for every ethnic group, religion, culture and condition? And…what if we can say that Jesus is the Messiah and that the Buddha, Mohammad, Moses, Krishna, etc. etc. etc. are also Messiah’s in their own right? What if everyone is right and no one is wrong? I know, the earth might come to an end…..but it is a question worth asking.
In the Words of a Great Prophet
The challenge is: What if we could love so much that we no longer had to accept our way as the only way and that there might be truth in all of it? I believe that this kind of mutual honor and respect is possible when we set aside our perceived separations and live in the Oneness that all great teachers have invited us into. As one modern prophet once said:
“You may say that I’m a dreamer….but I’m not the only one.
I hope some day you’ll join me and the world will live as one.”
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