As a former history professor, I am reminded that throughout history, basically for centuries, religions have been presented only as a system of arcane beliefs and strict rules. This has brought only hardship and, in some respects, terror to those not in power. Colonialism, subjugation of women, oppression of ethnic cultures, anti-Semitism, pedophilia, Islamophobia, and the list can go on from these few.
Martin Luther King gave a powerful memorable speech, I Have a Dream; I dream how different the world would be if people listened and brought his dreams into reality. Too often, people use whatever tools they can to rise above others and take what is not theirs. This is not what God wanted for us. God wants us to walk in peace and love with each other and share His plentiful bounty.
I look at what the world producing in food and wonder why so many people are starving. God-loving faithful people cannot let this happen. The Earth provides plenty of food for all living on this beautiful planet, but there are those who want to withhold this sustenance for their own selfish means. Money, power, and other egotistical elements taint their thinking. How much is enough? For me, if I have food to eat and a place to sleep, and my fellow man has the same, I am happy.
At church today, our adult forum centered on sharing our gifts with others. There are many gifts that we all have that if we shared would benefit all around us; and, if you believe in the ripple effect, and I do, these benefits will continue outward infinitely. My wife uses her ability to organize working solutions into practical workings; the result is our ever-expanding community food table, where anybody can come to receive enough food for their family each week.
My sharing comes in a more spiritual form; I am a prayer minister and a care-giver to those in spiritual and emotional discomfort. I speak with many people, who come to me with personal issues that they know will only be heard by the two of us and God. The words and comfort that God passes through me to them lifts them in their daily struggles. They feel a comfort of closeness, a lack of loneliness in their confusing lives.
Although I am a Christian, I serve all people at God’s will. As a college professor, there were two or three students who wanted to share prayers with me. I never asked what faith they were, only that they wanted a closer relationship with God. I never brought religion into my English or History classes, but my students knew that I was there to aid them in any way possible. This is why I cannot understand how people who practice the list of offences I mentioned above. God does not want us to live, being oppressed or being oppressors.
To me, God brings us gifts to share. God is loving, compassionate, a healer, a forgiver. He loves all His children; can we do any less to our fellow humans? My dream is that we can.
May you walk in the light that God offers and share in His bounty.