I am writing this a couple of days after the recent election. Yet more turmoil that can lead inevitably to anxious times. Fear for the future. Distrust and uncertainty creeps with stealth into our lives and our communities.
The two terror attacks in London and Manchester are still very much in our thoughts. Religion yet again takes a knock. The radical extremists appear to be able to baffle us with their ideology.
The three great faiths, Jewish, Christianity and Islam all share the same heritage. The old testament has been handed down to us over thousands of years. We share the great prophets Moses, Abraham and Elijah and their one true but indivisible God.
Intrinsic to the Jewish faith is the belief in a “personal” Messiah who will come and bring justice to the world. THEY WAIT. Christians have accepted Jesus as their Messiah (Saviour) who has risen to heaven and we await his second coming. In Islam Jesus is a highly revered prophet. His birth story is in the Qu’ran and Jesus and Mary his mother are mentioned innumerable times. Also the apostles who they call the helpers of God. What is less well known is that Muslims await the coming of a Messiah who some believe is going to be the likeness of Jesus.
I much prefer to dwell on the similarities rather differences. The one thing common to the three faiths is Jesus the Jew.
Islam in its pure form is without doubt a religion of peace and social justice. The concept of Ji’had means a holy striving or struggle. A Ji’had of the mouth means a religious argument. There is no place for the extremist holy war or the atrocities done supposedly for God.
God as we encounter him in the Bible creates humanity that is itself creative. In his own image. People with the concept of language, thought, reflection, imagination and choice. A form of life that can be rebellious. To choose between obedience or disobedience, good or evil. To enhance nature or to destroy it.
In almost every action we take we could have chosen to do otherwise. We can become cruel and mean or good and generous.
Acknowledge our mistakes. Whatever our faith, whether in God or humanity we must hold our fellow Muslims and Jews in our thoughts and prayers. We cannot let this evil ideology and the young men (who are themselves victims) prevail. The idea of “An eye for an eye” leaves the world blind. If the blind lead the blind we all end up falling into the pit.
Let us hope the future will bring peace and happiness although sadly I feel this might be an outcome for which we will have to wait.
God Bless, Wendy.
(This article was originally published as part of St David’s Messenger in July 2017)