Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeOpinionFaithThere are many pathways through life

There are many pathways through life

Over the last few years, our paper has had an interfaith focus for this faith column, so that we might learn from and respect the truth, which lies in various faiths. Now, I suggest that we can also learn from the spirituality which sometimes lies within the lives of people who are not related to formal mainstream faiths.

I have always maintained that if people are not believers in a traditional religious faith, but are of compassion, honesty, justice and wisdom, they are to be respected. Having said this, it is only recently that someone like this showed me a poem which they used for meditation and inspiration. They found this poem was deeply spiritual and therefore that creative spirituality can also arise from many different sources, some of which are not connected with formal doctrinal and creedal religions.

The poem included …

Center down.

And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful …

Know that our lives are within each other’s hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out the tendrils of compassion

that move invisibly, where we cannot touch …

The poem is called Pandemic and was written by Lynn Ungar. The Rev. Dr Ungar, as well as being a poet, is minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Larger Fellowship, an online congregation for isolated religious liberals.

The Church of the Larger Fellowship describes its philosophy as being not about doctrine or creed. “We are atheists and Christians, Buddhists and Jews, agnostics and Hindus, who know that no metaphor or story of the holy is big enough to truly hold what is holy … We are people who value diversity: of opinion, of culture, of language, of life experience, of spiritual practice.”

As human beings, none of us can ever know the whole of truth and which of us truly represent God, assuming, as I do, that God exists.

We can, however, celebrate and give respect to those who add to the deeper meanings and sources of love and justice in our communities.

They are sacred in every time and place.

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