All Faiths Together

May 6, 2008 at 2:10 pm 1 comment

The other night was a good night. I attended a book launch that was scheduled for deep, dark, downtown Toronto. I dread driving to the city these days. Traffic is always snarled somewhere along the route and city folk just don’t seem to abide by amber lights! I don’t know if it was the phase of the moon or if karma was involved, but that night the traffic was fine and the city drivers were very subdued. I actually enjoyed the trip down.

The destination my GPS led me to was on Spadina, south of Bloor, a place called the Koffler Institute which houses the Multi-Faith Centre of the University of Toronto. What a jewel of a place. The director of the institute addressed us before our main speaker and informed us that the goal of the Centre is to promote dialogue and understanding between different faith groups. To that end, the room we were seated in had been the venue for a Muslim prayer gathering that day, as well as a multi faith discussion group. As we were meeting, there was a Pagan group meeting upstairs as well as a Hindu group in the Meditation room across the hall doing breathing exercises. What a great example for the religious world to copy. Faiths meeting together in harmony under one roof! Wow!

In our search for the shape of the ‘emerging church,’ perhaps this could serve as a model, or at least inspiration. Instead of building churches or denominationally dedicated buildings, wouldn’t it be great if all faith groups in a community banded together to develop a multi use building for all to share. My dream would be that if such a Centre was built, that the tenants would become familiar and want to join together in celebrating elements of each others traditions. Wouldn’t this be a great bridge to fostering a universal Spirituality with all faith traditions becoming part of the mosaic of the emerging ‘church’ in the ever burgeoning global village? Perhaps the chance of anything like this happening within our lifetime is slim to non-existent, but I believe that this is the direction humanity is heading.

After leaving this building, the enchantment continued. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, the Spadina traffic parted for me so I could cross to the parking lot in peace. Upon exiting the lot, I crept up Spadina and back along Bloor in a typical city traffic shuffle, enjoying rubbernecking at the buildings and the people as the several lights controlled my progress.

Once past Bay Street, the magic began to happen. Without any heroic moves on my part, I simply flowed with the traffic and miraculously, every light stayed green right up until I ramped onto the Don Valley Parkway! I laughed at my luck and melded with the northward race. When I exited at Bloomington Road, I was set to enjoy the sparse night traffic heading towards Uxbridge but the magic continued. Every light along this route remained green too! About nine lights in total over a course of maybe twenty-four kilometres along Bloomington Road. I had gone all the way from Bloor and Bay, to the stop sign around the corner from my house without a stop. What a treat.

In another time I would have attributed this treat to God’s providence and perhaps ‘His’ pleasure with my enlightenment at the gathering I was returning home from. I would have felt close to the Creator. However, the meeting had reinforced a belief that I have come to recognize as truth: there is no supernatural, human shaped figure doling out favour (or punishment). Yet I still felt connected to something this night. What was it? Carl Jung wrote about the thread in our collective subconscious that binds us together. An instructor in a guitar course I took mentioned that the world has a certain frequency, or note, that the earth rings with. There seems to be an energy that surrounds us and unites us. In primal tribal times, maybe humans felt this energy and explained it as what became the thing we call God. On my journey home that evening, I think that the feeling I was experiencing was my coming close to that collective unconscious of Jung; my personal vibe was ringing in harmony with that universal frequency. You might say I was in tune with creation for awhile, just as the Multi-Faith Centre promotes differing traditions to be in tune with each other and join in the harmony of creation. Is there a message here?

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Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

Gretta Rocks! God and Grog?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. carolyneswan  |  May 7, 2008 at 4:19 am

    Another fantastic, inspiring piece of work. You seem to voice my feelings, and I’m sure many others would join the club. Keep it up.

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