Rev. Leland Stewart, B.S.E., B.T.
Gatherings of Creative Community
5 April 2015 (15)
The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the
chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us.
Nelson Mandela, Science and Spirituality, page 169
The coming of spring is a time of awakening, with new life being born all around us. Religiously speaking, it is also the time of celebration for many of the religions of the world. Christians observe Good Friday, followed by the celebration of Easter. Jews observe Passover, beginning on April 4th, which is during the time between Good Friday and Easter. Buddhism observes the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha either in April or May, and Hinduism has its own spring festival. Islam observes the month of Ramadan, the time of which rotates throughout the year.
Religions have had their challenges, such as the crucifixion of Jesus and the events surrounding that tragic occasion. The Baha’is had the death of the Bab, the forerunner of Baha-U-llah, the central figure of the Baha’i Faith. Islam had to contend with the initial resistance of forces in Mecca which were opposed to the Muslim religion.
However, the main purpose of religion is to support moral and spiritual values, as well as the building of community. It is to give purpose to life, to help people to meet their challenges with peace and goodwill. Even though the different religions have different rituals and ceremonies, their deeper purpose is to bring people together and to bring understanding. At the birth of every new civilization, there is a new birth of faith.
The challenge of our time is that we are at the end of Western and other civilizations and the beginning of global civilization. It is the confusion of values as we transition from the old to the new that tends to bring conflict and violence. Therefore, it is important for us to understand this transition and to support the emerging values which bring healing and cooperation among all peoples and all life.
I have observed that various portrayals of Jesus’s life have put the stress on the conflicts he went through, rather than on his beautiful teachings. Easter, on the other hand, is the time when those conflicts are transcended, and on the Day of Ascension forty days after Easter Jesus is said to have ascended into heaven. It is time to put the emphasis on what Christianity has to offer that can bring peace and harmony to a world greatly in need. Islam and Judaism are also both in conflict, especially with the emergence of the violent actions of the “Islamic State”. May this time be one of the willingness to accept different faiths and cultures within the emerging global community.
Spirit is One, paths are many!