Judy and Julia are both spiritual people, you'll notice that right away when you read their blogs. You'll notice, too, that neither presumes that their faith should be or is better than or trumps yours. I like that combination - the courage to openly proclaim your beliefs with the humility to respect and learn from the different beliefs of others.

Too often, I think, we make the mistake that if we believe firmly in something, those who believe differently must be wrong. I look at the beliefs of others as opportunities to deepen my own faith, and in doing so have learned and gained so much.

It's not just a matter of looking at other religious traditions, either. I've learned more about an individual human being's desire for goodness from my atheist friends than any others. Maybe it's because when you remove religious justification from your actions, you have to rely on the simple question "Is this right or wrong?" There's a clarity in that question that gets lost in religious debate, I think.

Of course, I've learned much from my friends who practice one religion or another, too. From my Jewish friends, I've found respect for ritual and focus on social justice. From my Protestant friends, the courage to question and look to the future. From my Muslim friends, the importance of prayer and of placing God first. From my Hindu friends, respect for the earth and its creatures. From my Buddhist friends, the real possibility of peace.

It's in this spirit of open sharing that I give you a hymn I love. Maybe you know it? Judy, Julia and anyone out there struggling with any kind of challenge - these thoughts are for you.
Healer of our every ill,
Light of each tomorrow,give us peace beyond our fear,
and hope beyond our sorrow.

You who know our fears and sadness,
grace us with your peace and gladness.
Spirit of all comfort, fill our hearts

Healer of our every ill ...

In the pain and joy beholding
how your grace is still unfolding,
give us all your vision, God of love

Healer of our every ill ...

Give us strength to love each other,
every sister, every brother.
Spirit of all kindness, be our guide

Healer of our every ill ...

You who know each thought and feeling,
teach us all your way of healing.
Spirit of compassion, fill each heart
Healer of our every ill,
Light of each tomorrow,give us peace beyond our fear,
and hope beyond our sorrow.

Healer of Our Every Ill is by Marty Haugen, GIA Publications.


Judy said…
*sniff, that brought tears to my eyes, good tears. Thank you, Margie. What an absolutely beautiful post.
Margie, this was the gift I needed this morning. I am sobbing, actually. Thank you. Thank you.
Anonymous said…
I appreciate your post but my faith and belief in the Holy Trinity and the Bible as the Word of God obliges me to claim that there is only one God and one way to Him. That doesn´t mean, however that I do not appreciate, respect and learn from people who believe differently. I do appreciate them, respect them and learn a lot from them. But I still believe that there is only one God and one way to him (through Jesus). There wouldn´t be much merit to me believing that if I thought it was optional. You can be accepting of people without accepting their beliefs as true. Does that mean that in your book I am closed minded or narrow minded? Or do I just believe what I believe? Is that such a bad thing?
Margie said…
Anonymous, I appreciate and respect your point of view. The deep conviction you feel is something to be cherished.

Where we may view this issue differently is in the definition of that "one way" to God. I believe the message of Christ is so fundamental that many practice it even when they follow to other faith traditions. My personal relationship with Him is such that I do not, cannot, believe that he would exclude them from His plan.

No judgments here, just my thoughts on a complicated subject, and my (perhaps feeble) effort to share them.
Seoul Siblings said…
Couldn't have said it better...and I'm with Judy *sniff

Thank you for this. I too needed this today.
My Heart said…
i've known judy as redthread from livejournal for years and she is an amazing, loving woman who embraces all people as good people.

her wordpress blog led me to your blog today and i want to say i feel blessed to have discovered your blog. this post is beautiful. may i link to it in my blog?

may i post the poem in my blog? i want to make it part of my prayer life.

your post has a hugely important message about religious tolerance. as a sufi, i struggle with many people who are very rigid about their beliefs. thankfully, i am meeting sufis and people from a wide variety of spiritual traditions who help me practice my faith as only one of the zillions and zillions of possibilites. they say there are as many ways to God as there are souls. i agree.
Margie said…
Thank you, Love.Peace, glad you came by. And yes, certainly you may link. I'll be visiting your blog, too!
Margie said…
PS - I've added a credit to Marty Haugen, who wrote the hymn. He's written many of the ones I love. I apologize if I gave the impression I wrote the hymn!!
Julia said…
Margie... I love this one. I love you.

John has read me your J-day posts... they mean so much to me. Thank you!
Margie said…
I love you, too, Julia. I'm so, so glad to see you posting a bit - but you be very gentle and careful with yourself. Sending huge (((hugs)))!!

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