On May 3, 2009, churches around the world will dedicate their worship to a celebration of our interfaith world. Progressive Christians thank God for religious diversity! We don’t claim that our religion is superior to all others. We recognize that other religions can be as good for others as ours is for us. We can grow closer to God and deeper in compassion—and we can understand our own traditions better—through a more intimate awareness of the world’s religions. Churches will be using elements of other world faiths in their sermons, litanies, and music; many will feature speakers and singers from other faith traditions. Some congregations will have exchanges with other faith communities, going to each other’s houses of worship.
We will be celebrating the many paths at our congregation while welcoming eight new members (including one by baptism) as well as baptizing an infant child of one of our new members. We are looking forward to the big day.
One of the reasons that many find a home in our congregation is because we acknowledge that other spiritual paths are true and valid as our mission statement says:
With joyful hearts and open minds, we welcome all persons as diverse, unique, and individual expressions of the image of God as we:
- Affirm the unconditional love of God for all people as expressed in the life of Jesus Christ.
- Celebrate God’s grace and creative work through ritual, sacrament, music, art, movement, and play.
- Honor our Christian heritage while we explore the knowledge and wisdom of multiple religions, science, philosophy, humanities and psychology to deepen and enrich our spiritual journeys.
- Nurture one another through fellowship and compassion in a community that seeks to offer wholeness.
- Embody our faith through local ministries and in actions that promote environmental sustainability, peace, and justice for all people and Earth.
My sermon is entitled One River, Many Wells which is taken from Matthew Fox's book by the same name and from which I borrowed this quote for the bulletin:
My thoughts turn to the subject of our various religions. None of them is mother of the ocean, rather the ocean is mother of all things. Our religions are so recent in relation to the lifetime of the sea and to most other creatures—including humanity itself. What religions did our ancestors practice for the two million years that preceded the forms we now recognize as “world religions”? How humble our religions ought to be before all creatures. As Mechtild of Magdeburg said, “the truly wise person kneels at the feet of all creatures.”--Matthew Fox One River, Many Wells (New York: Penguin Putnam, 2000), p.16.