Posts Tagged ‘One River Many Wells’


As some may be aware, the spiritual book group that we host in our home with Universal Church of the Master Alberta, chose as the follow up to the Aquarian Gospel, the Qur’an. The Ahmaddiyya mosque was graceful enough to provide a missionary in the early days to answer some questions, and free copies in English for us.

I have read the Qur’an myself, but this quest is better because these texts were meant for discussion, as all the texts in the Abrahamic Traditions are. By Abrahamic I do subscribe to the spectrum of Christianities; the rainbow of Judaisms, the branches of Islam. As well those anthropologically that have roots in these traditions but now can be viewed as their own religion– Jehovah Witnesses; Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints; New Thought; some veins of New Age; Spiritualist; some veins of Metaphysics; Sufism and I am sure there are some I have missed. Yes the texts are written down, but they truly come alive when we understand genre, intended audience, historical background, and then let the current life context breathe spiritual life into these ancient words for us today.

To remember this, sometimes one must step off their usual path of spirituality. Or in the images of Rev. Matthew Fox, take a sip from another’s well.

That is what this quest has done. Refreshing water. Nothing astoundingly new. The language of the text into the first four Suryas is written in contrast, contractual and devoutly covenant between Allah and all those testaments of the people of the book that came before. While discussing, reading and discovering on this quest we see parallels between the Hebrew Bible, Christian Testament, and Eastern spirituality.

I encourage each of you to seek the story that resonates, but never be afraid to sip from another’s well. Within that new water may be the taste to replenish your well…

anew.


…Jesus son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those granted nearness to God.

-Sura 3:46

                The Crusades were a horrific time within the Empire phase of Christianity. It was about anti-Semitism (travelling to and from the Holy Land was a great excuse for the warriors to cull the Jewish in the lands) and to let blood run high in the Holy Land battling the “infidel”.

During one such crusade time a disgraced Crusader received a call to something different. Francis was a party animal, one of those wealthy ne’er do wells many towns and communities know of. He thought to increase his lot by bravery in the Crusades…suffice to say he was not a good Knight, and wound up injured in a burnt out church where Jesus spoke to him through the San Damiano cross calling him to rebuild his church. After stealing supplies from his father, and rebuilding 3 fine parishes he was once again revisited and redirected to actual community based around hope and loved. Even beaten and imprisoned by his own parents, just emboldened this man to cast of (literally) the clothes of wealth and walk naked into the world.

The Franciscan movement is what began. Part of the life lived that receives little mention outside of the international circles (as most just know Francis for his love of animals, not activism) so he has been reduced to the garden statue or fountain. Yet it was in the midst of crusade times this rabble rouser and friends upset the apple cart, and not just in the challenge for equity and justice for the poor. Nope, he also crossed treasonous lines by going back onto the Crusader path to meet with Sultan.

Why?

To pray together.

To talk.

To share bread.

To be community.

Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was ever inclined to God and obedient to Him, and he was not of those who associate gods with God.

-Sura 3:68

Francis and his community understood an eternal truth. God is the source of all that is, all that exists within and through and lived out of the Holy Mystery. The source-Love- was not to be confused with the manifestations. That is…the wells are not the river.

We want the labels to divide. Those in power hope that we allow the labels to divide. Yet, there is another way. A way where we acknowledge the One River, and sample one another’s well water in a safe place of community, sharing prayers, sharing discourse, sharing bread. Being like Francis and the Sultan. That piece of light in the darkness.

And he will teach them the Book, and The Wisdom, and The Torah and the Gospel.

-Sura 3: 49

This is why my family hosts an inter-faith Questing through the Qur’an; and a Brunch & Bible (where we travel the roads of the Gospel of Luke & Acts of the Apostles) on alternating weeks. To share the foundation stories. To see where we connect. To hear where we differ.

To know  we are still united in our diversity.

                Much like Francis’ call to bring the gifts of peace, hope, faith, joy and love to Sultan. But also to receive these same gifts from Sultan.

For, what are we in humanity,

if not neighbours….

francis

The Gospel story, the faith story has not ended. It is not sealed. Each of us in our journeys, our lives continue to write in the book of life about how we live within, through and out of the love that is the Holy Mystery. So what is the new chapter you are starting in this moment?