Wednesday, July 06, 2005

God Made It All

A sweet and reverent woman bought my book and loved my prayers.

At least she did until she came to a section in which I make reference to a religious tradition other than Christianity. With this she closed my book and declared she "could not read any more."

The Sufi poet Rumi wrote about just such an attitude in Moses and the Shepherd:

Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying:

"God, where are you? I want to help you, to fix your shoes and comb your hair. I want to wash your clothes and pick the lice off. I want to bring you milk to kiss your little hands and feet when it's time for you to go to bed. I want to sweep your room and keep it neat. God, my sheep and goats are yours. All I can say, remembering you, is ayyyy and ahhhhhhhh."

Moses could stand it no longer.

"Who are you talking to?"

"The one who made us, and made the earth and made the sky."

"Don't talk about shoes and socks with God!And what's this with your little hands and feet? Such blasphemous familiarity sounds like you're chatting with your uncles."

In this poem, Moses gives the Shepherd a good tongue thrashing beyond this. The result is that the shepherd "repented and tore his clothes and sighed and wandered out into the desert."

But a sudden revelation came to Moses as he heard God's voice:

You have separated me from one of my own. Did you come as a Prophet to unite, or to severe?

I have given each being a separate and unique way of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.

What seems wrong to you is right for him. What is poison to one is honey to someone else.

There is a reason that Rumi is the best known and read poet in North America today. He was in touch with the Divine and with Divine intent.

There is no one right way to love God. There is no one right way to worship God.

Let us not - like Al Quaeda - try to impose our religious views on everyone else.

Let us instead do as Jesus taught: treat everyone with loving kindness. Let us teach through example, not doctrine. That is the essence of God.

God made us all. God made all minds and, therefore, all religions. Embrace love of all. Anything other than a heart that is filled with tolerance and compassion separates us from one another and from God.

*From The Essential Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks


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