Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Many Faiths : One Family : One Love

Let's just forget for a minute about the economy going down the crapper. I’d like to write about something uplifting instead. Otherwise, I fear I will curl up in the fetal position in some dark corner as a result of our shortsighted national leaders and their phenomenally craptacular decision making skills. I’ve got a “change” for ya . . .

On Sunday, I had the privilege of attending the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable’s annual concert. I knew I was going to love it when it opened with a jewish chant featuring a shofar, a muslim call to prayer – which I have always found incredibly beautiful and have dreamed to hear from the top of a minaret somewhere in Turkey or Morocco – and a Vienna Boys Choir-esque song by a children's choir that was absolutely stunning. The interfaith coalition’s goal is to promote peace and understanding between people of different religions through the theme: Many Faiths : One Family. They had several presentations that brought local Jewish and Muslim children’s choirs to sing together about peace and understanding.I was blown away by how good this concert was. They had children’s choirs from all different religions and other performances from Hindi folk dancers, Native American dancers, and even a bagpipe band playing Amazing Grace. I was pretty much a mess from the beginning – but I lost it when the bagpipes started up. What is it with that song? It must be my Scottish great, great, great, great grandma, Mary Murray Murdoch, or “Wee Granny” as she is known to us. Years ago I went to a memorial service near Chimney Rock in Nebraska where nearly 450 Murdoch descendants were gathered to honor her. As the sun set, there were bagpipes playing Amazing Grace. I have to say, it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. This personal association with that song ensures tears every time I hear it.

I had a thought as I was listening to this concert on love and acceptance of different faiths. I wrote about love in my last post, but I think I got it wrong. Now I realize that more than romantic love, I want to live and experience a more pure form of love. I think my ultimate goal, and the path to true enlightenment, is based on love in its purest, most selfless form. Something that was very evident during the interfaith concert is that most religions pretty much believe the exact same thing – we just use different words. The more I learn about different religions it’s clear to me that they are all slightly different forms of the original single source. I loved that they made a point to have the Jewish and Muslim children sing together in a combined choir. They sang about all being children of Abraham and that they are really brothers and sisters in the same family. It was really touching. They ended by saying that whether we believe in Allah, Vishnu, Amida or God, we are all one.


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