Washington County News
Diverse chorus of voices unified praying for peace
RELIGION TODAY Wesley D. Taylor
A rainbow of colors vested the procession with light and hope. The sounds of the great organ lifted our souls to heavenly realms of divine wisdom and solace.
Religious leaders and clergy with troubled hearts and a measured walk entered the vast sanctuary. The congregation watched with expectant eyes the colorful splendor of more than 50 persons, representing a broad diversity of the world's religions. All had come with humble hearts to worship and pray.
The diverse congregation had come that recent Sunday afternoon to pray for peace. But more than pray, to beg, yearn and plead for peace. We must remember that at the heart of faith, there is a hope for humans to come into the presence of God, and in that transforming experience become partners with the divine in building together on Earth as it is in heaven.
We had all arrived to worship and to be reminded that we are called to be peacemakers. There is no nobler or higher calling. To pray for peace, yes. Also to discover or rediscover that the divine in us begs of us to be builders of peace and justice and reconciliation.
We are one human family living on one planet, and our similarities are so very much greater than our differences. Likewise, our faith speaks over and over of this human family bonded and bounded together as one people.
We had come to earnestly pray for peace. To pray for peace in all the world, and especially to pray for peace between the United States and Iraq.
In our worship and in our song and in our intercessions, we were seeking divine guidance, wisdom and resolve. Our words, actions and prayers were most powerful.
Powerful diversity Even more powerful was the diversity of us. The diversity was powerful and significant. I had never seen such a diverse and unified chorus of voices crying out for peace. In my many years of ministry, I had never seen such diverse and far-reaching breadth of religious persons from many traditions.
We were one, though very diverse: Jew and Christian, Sikh and Buddhist, Muslim and Unitarian, Methodist and Presbyterian, United Church of Christ and Roman Catholic, Episcopalian and Quaker, Mormon and Baha'i, Lutheran and Disciples of Christ, Society of Friends and Baptist, New Age and Reformed, Church of Scientology and independent churches. And even more. The colorful, diverse family of faith joined together to be peacemakers.
Hospitality and compassionate relationships flow through the many sacred writings of faith. The action of being a neighbor is a holy invitation to care for each other as family. The dynamic of love flows from Creator to created, from creature to creature, from one to the other, to the all and the One.
Love is the most powerful of forces. Love breaks down all the barriers that divide us and divide nations. However, for such powerful love to melt all barriers and hostilities, we must be willing to love and trust such all powerful love.
Let love be our aim and action. Let peacemaking be on the hearts and minds of each one of us. Let us pray and act together as peacemakers.
The reach of love
A father and his young daughter were on a cruise, a "get-away time" because her mother, his wife, had died recently. As they sat together on the deck one night, the little girl asked her father: "Daddy, does God love us as much as Mommy did?"
Pointing out across the water to the most distant horizon, he said, "Honey, God's love reaches farther than you can see in that direction."
Turning around, he said, "And God's love reaches father than you can see in that direction, too."
And the father looked up at the sky and said, "And God's love is higher than the sky, too.
Finally, he pointed down at the ocean and said, "And it's deeper than the ocean as well."
The little girl thought about that, turned to her father and said joyfully, "Oh, just think, Daddy. We're right here in the middle of it all."
Yes, we are all right here in the middle of it all. One people, one human family, one small planet, gifted to us by the Creator.
Wesley D. Taylor is pastor of Tualatin United Methodist Church, 20200 S.W. Martinazzi Ave. He can be reached at 503-692-1820.
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