We Share One Life, We Are One Life
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*I close my eyes..., Srosh Awar, Flickr
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May we allow Grace to open our hearts beyond the boundaries of our faiths, not to see in faiths a false and facile unity, but a unity that is Grace Itself, not the particulars of faiths.
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A beautiful statue of the Buddha sat on the centerpiece of my stereo system. This remarkable, handcrafted artwork is from Indonesia. I was asked once, when I was a pastor, by an irate lady, "Why donít you take that thing and throw it out?!" To her, this beautiful and spiritual work of art - now sitting, years later, beside my picture of Mary and the Christ child and an icon of the Trinity - is, apparently, just a "thing." For me to have thrown out the artwork would have been a denial of Truth, a failure to love my neighbor as myself and, so, a disobedience of Christ Jesus. Likewise, I would have been denying the vocation of bearing witness to the universality of Truth, expressed through the Word, Jesus Christ. I would have denied the call to be a Christian helping the world become a place of compassion among religions and peoples, through mutual understanding. To the conservative 'Christian,' I was faithless, to me, I was being faithful - not to religion, but to Grace.
What was this lady actually saying? She was saying, "Whittle your God down to the size of the god of persons who want a god only in their image." She was asking me to agree to an expression of Christianity that is antithetical to the compassion, love, and peace that Christ calls us to in our world.
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Bede Griffiths (1906-1993), a Benedictine monk who lived many years in India, wrote regarding Christ and the world religions...
We have to recognize that every religion, from the most primitive to the most advanced, throws a certain light on the one divine mystery, which is the object of all religious faith, and all are necessary to the full knowledge of Christ. It would seem that in time to come it will become impossible to be a Christian in any complete sense, if one is ignorant of the measure of wisdom and knowledge to be found in the traditions of other religions. In this way one can foresee a kind of convergence of the different religions of the world on the one Truth, which is found in all and which for a Christian is fully realized in Christ.
The difference between the irate woman and me was not the Buddha or Christ, but our hearts. May we allow Grace to open our hearts beyond the boundaries of our faiths, not to see in faiths a false and facile unity, but a unity that is Grace Itself, not the particulars of faiths.
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We are each a lovely, pure Rose, in the Garden of Grace.
The Sacred in Me bows to the Sacred in You