Worship Materials: Interfaith

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

THEME        The Complexities of Spirituality

THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION

  1. Instead of concentrating on what we think is wrong with other world religions, our time could be spent more profitably on identifying what we have in common.
  2. Confidence that our beliefs are right and that those of other people are wrong, is a mark of arrogance, rather than of deep faith in divinity.
  3. Information about other world religions can be a good star­ting point for dialogue, but eventually it has to come down to the discovery of our common humanity and the complexity of divinity.
  4. It is better for world religions to concentrate on the questions which they should be addressing rather than the diverse answers which they currently provide. In any case the inhabitants
    of the world are rightly less and less amenable to people trying to impose answers upon them.
  5. All religions can affirm life. All religions can destroy life.
  6. All one way ideologies be they religious, economic, political or within the area of the arts produce more division and antagonism than unity.
  7. The only true one way is the divine mystery itself and that is so complex that it is incapable of being contained within any one human formation.
  8. If we listened to the beating of the other person’s heart, we might gain a different perspective on what comes out of their mouth.
  9. World religionists uniting for action is a much more liberating experience than world religionists attempting to agree on what to believe.
  10. Perhaps a good starting point for dialogue between Christians,
    Jews and Muslims would be a mutual examination of the way in which the image of the God of the sword, which is found in all of their scriptures has been used as a justification for warlike behavior.
  11. Christians and Buddhists could profitably explore right thinking and empowerment and also ways in which we can hold together an imageless mystery and an imaged god.
  12. Christians and Hindus could have a profitable dialogue around the many images of God and the process whereby we decide, upon which is appropriate for us.
  13. Could Western world religionists learn from Asian world religionists some of whom say that if two people have opposing views it is possible for both, to be right. What would be required on our part for us to accept the possibility of belonging to two world religions?
    For example, Buddhists who are also Shinto and some Christians in Japan who are also Buddhists e.g. some of the Itoen Community in Kyoto.
  14. There is a world of difference between adding some of the insights of other world religions into our own faith and the totally unlikely possibility of all the world religions uniting into one super-religion.
  15. An understanding of the difference between world religions can best be gained by studying their theologies.
  16. An understanding of the similarities between world religions can best be gained by a study of their mystics.
  17. To enter into dialogue with a person from another World religion with a hidden agenda of converting them, is at best devious and at worst downright immoral.
  18. Until we see all religions as but partial expressions of divinity we will not be able to engage in meaningful dialogue.
  19. Instead of concentrating on other people’s beliefs, we need to concentrate more on being aware of their experience.
  20. The circle in the hand of the Buddha resembles the nail print in the hand of the Christ.

 

PRAYER

O God, in whom is all unity and all diversity,

help us to trust your mystery more than our formulations

and to be willing to enter your presence in the company of sisters and brothers of other faiths.

 

HYMNS

We are always part of the other. (BL)

You are the process God. (BL)

 

O God how can there be one world?

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

The right time has come.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

 

Darkness is my mother.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

Deep in our minds.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

 

God is beyond all words.

Singing the Sacred, Vol 1 2011 World Library Publications

 

REFRAIN

In creating space for each other. (BL)

 

GRACE                               

We eat and drink. (Multi-faith food blessing) (BL)

 

POEMS / REFLECTIONS

MOMENT OF AWARENESS

O eternal moment of awareness in you the whole creation

is one inter-woven garment, sensuous, seamless,

filled with peace and delight. But beyond that moment

life’s path skirts

between illusory dichotomies and visionless monotony,

between celebratory songs and liquid lamentations.

O God of orbiting imagination, of atomic minuteness

and universal immensity,

may the transitory moment become a way of life

until wonder’s pulsating womb becomes my permanent

abode.

 

IMPRESSIONS OF AN INTERFAITH MEETING IN BALI, 1994.

Enveloped by tourism’s cultural manipulations,

Softened by the brilliance of Hibiscus and Bougainvillea,

Sitting under the portraits of political authority

We from our elitist stand point

Sweltered in verbal profusion

And procedural irrelevances.

Yet for all this there were deeper realities ‑

The oneness beyond the plurality,

The oneness within plurality,

The oneness that delights in plurality

For there we saw many faces

Of God

Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Shinto and Christian faces –

Pakistani, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Nepalese, Korean, Philipino,

Indonesian, Shri Lankan, Singaporean and New Zealand faces.

But behind all these faces

Lay images

Sometimes shrouded in mist

Sometimes exposed on centre stage

Images of

War and peace,

Attacker and nourisher,

Competitor and cooperator,

Colonizer and empowerer.

How then shall we be saved

From buried destruction?

Not by pretence,

Condemnation

Or denial,

Or even by religiously bathing

In sacred texts of time’s honored rituals,

But by observation from the space of awareness,

By letting go of ancient hurts

And by immersion in the mystery

Which is the eternal

NOW.

 

THE EXCLUSIVE MIND

The exclusive mind seems unable to see the many in the one, unable to see itself in the Muslim, the Jew, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the New Age person, the Communist, the Capitalist, the Asian, the European, the American, the Cuban, the Colonist and the Indigenous People. At the centre of much exclusiveness lies a mind and heart that, for one reason or another, only has a very limited idea of God. God as the one but not the many is an idea that can only thrive when one denies one’s own inner mystic, for the mystic sees within and beyond all manifestations to the mystery which is in all and through all.

The spiritual, as well as the genetic, reality is that we are all one family.

 

FOCUS FOR ACTION

If I feel uncomfortable with or threatened by dialogue with other world religions then perhaps I should be asking myself where these fears come from and whether they constitute a challenge to deepen my trust in the God who cannot be contained in any system of spirituality, and who in essence is the love that casts out all fear.

Celebrating Mystery Logo

LOGO NOTE: At the heart of the mystery all the separate boxes disappear and all is one, all is love.

Text and graphic © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.

 

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