Grace and Peace to you.
Last night at a dinner we were blessed by an imam, chanted over by a rabbi and prayed for by a priest. I needed all three.
I don’t believe that there is only one true religion. There is one God, yes—one reality, one absolute truth— but many ways to live in reverence. There are many ways to wake up, many names to give the sacred, many languages in which to praise, many stories that reveal the Holy. (Mine is the Jesus story. What’s yours?) Religions are not “all alike;” they see different parts, and lead us on different paths. Some see more than others.
But none of us has the whole story, because God is infinite, too great for even an entire religion to understand or worship fully. The One, the Creator of the Universe, whose name is I Am, the Merciful One, the Way, is greater than any image, any name, any tradition. The Heavenly Lover of All Beings has way more imagination than to only reveal herself to one people in one time in one form.
Don’t assume that you worship the one true God in the only way possible. Don’t let yourself off the hook by thinking that you don’t have a choice. When you do, you can easily begin to believe that your religion is more real than the truth itself, and stop seeing altogether, stop being present. No, devote yourself to being present. Seek what is true and what gives life, what most deeply connects you with Creation in love. Have the humility to know that there are other ways. Have the curiosity to wonder what you’re missing. Have the grace to thank God for the wisdom of other traditions, and the wisdom of your own. Have the courage to choose your favorite story, learn it well, and live it out, not because other stories are false but because it is the one that most deeply gives you life and brings you into harmony with all Creation.
When I am prayed for by someone of another faith, I am reminded that my understanding is incomplete, my perspective is limited, my tradition is finite. Only God is infinite and whole and perfect. God is beyond my naming, my understanding, my worship. I practice my imperfect faith, and God smiles and says, “It is enough.”
As you practice your faith, seek the prayers and blessings of people of other faiths. You need it.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes