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Global Community Unites Many Faiths

By Daniel E. H. Bryant
For The Register-Guard
Published: Saturday, December 9, 2006 (reprinted here with permission)


(Note: At the 50th monthly Interfaith Prayer and Reflection Service this past Sept. 11, the Rev. Dan Bryant of First Christian Church gave the opening remarks for the program, whose theme was "Many Paths of Wisdom ... One Creator God."

We thought readers would appreciate Bryant's remarks at this time of year when "peace on earth ... good will toward all" is a desire of so many - TRIM Review Team)

In the book of Isaiah we read, "My house shall become a house of prayer for all peoples."

Our congregation has been deeply honored to provide a home for this service these past five years that people of all faiths may be welcomed here.

I especially commend the organizers of this service who have done such a fantastic job every month, working hard to create an environment where members of every faith tradition feel safe and respected, something that is much harder to do than one might imagine.

advertisement We are all indebted to their hard work and careful planning.

There are those in our country and world who would politicize this day for their own partisan purposes.

My desire and hope is that we will resist such temptation so that we may not only come together across our diverse spiritual traditions, but also across our political persuasions and all other divisions that separate us one from another to unite us in our common humanity.

For that reason, it is important for us to note that we come together in spite of, or maybe because of, our spiritual diversity.

Not only do we come here as Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sufis, Buddhists, Goddess Tradition adherents, Sikhs, Baha'is, Hindus, Native Americans and observers of many

other traditions, we also come as monotheists, polytheists and even nontheists, people with a great variety of beliefs and differences in our understanding of the Divine Mystery of the cosmos. For the One I worship may not be the same One you worship.

Heaven knows that we do not even have agreement on the nature and being of God among those who worship in this congregation on Sunday mornings!

Some of them, listening to my preaching for 15 years, are still not convinced that I know what I am talking about, but they come anyway, God bless them.

Tonight what we share is not a belief in a single deity but a single humanity, not a common destination but a common journey.

It is not so much the truth we know or think we know that unites us, but the search for truth, the desire to know the "more" of life and the nothingness or the no thingness of being.

So whether we are on separate paths up one mountain or many mountains, or even no mountain, we are all people on a journey.

In the recognition of that commonality is the hope that we dare to believe and are so bold to proclaim, that here tonight is the way to global community and true peace.

Daniel Bryant is senior minister of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Eugene, which hosts the Interfaith Service of Prayer and Reflection on the 11th of every month. This column is coordinated by Two Rivers Interfaith Ministries, a network of more than 35 religious and spiritual traditions in the Eugene-Springfield area. For more information, visit www.interfaitheugene.org or call 344-5693.



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