Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh God of our many understandings

"O God of our many understandings..." -

That phraseology from Bishop Robinson of New Hampshire says many things.

Without being in the know of the latest PC thoughts from a Jesus Seminar or an ivy league divinity school, these words reach out for intelligence and tolerance and empathy. These words say that what we each may believe, though our various cultural contexts may be varied, we all, most of us, basically believe the same thing in the concept of the One God.

I am sometimes disheartened when on the news I see the lack of tolerance or understanding between the various monotheistic religions. Too many centuries of comfort in a region and too little reaching out makes for present friction between those who to this day will say that the God of the Jews or the God of Jesus or the God of Mohammed are not one and the same God.

Different names, different understandings but in truth, in our hearts, they invoke the same God.

There is local and there is global. There is sacred and there is secular. There is God and the inability of many who do not try to walk a mile in their brother’s shoes. There are those who do not realize how God has revealed himself in the same way many times throughout the ages but with different accents, and interpretations of the same language and same message from the Source of the Universe...

(there is some hype on TV commercials about what do you tell your grandchildren about where you were when Obama was sworn in)

I began to write the preceding early this morning. It was left unfinished and before the Inaugural of President Barack Hussein Obama. I had been out driving and doing some necessary urgent errands. I caught his swearing in oath on the car radio. I heard the oath of office just before turning onto another road here in Staten Island. Half a block away I saw the minaret of a mosque recycled from an old factory up ahead. The Muslims there of that particular congregation are from Albania. America has changed. The world is changing. We of necessity must change in those things that brings forth more tolerance and understanding to all matters local and global.

I saw the later part of President Obama’s speech on television and was struck by one line as part of a larger paragraph. It was: “…that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace…”

Perhaps our common humanity as it is uniquely blended in the USA will help form the comfort of our using some words first that elsewhere will one day be used that will help thaw cultural differences by their use and in faithful translation. Words and or phrases like “O God of our many understandings …” is a good start.