Faith Without Borders
This past weekend I had the awesome privilege of witnessing my daughter’s ordination in San Francisco. She is a Zen Buddhist, and after years of disciplined but joyful immersion and study, her Jukai was Saturday. She will faithfully apply her ordination vows, serving others through her work.
With a slightly better understanding of the other religions in our Abrahamic tradition, I am still learning about Buddhism. I was both surprised and moved by the similar elements of the Jukai service to my Christian ones, too many to recount here. Yes, it looked different and sounded different, but what was happening was familiar. The occasion would have been no less meaningful if everything had seemed foreign to me, but it prompted a lot of reflection: separated by five centuries and half a world away, souls were moved to express an outpouring of the spirit and led to follow an inspired path in ways that are common to all of us. I am in awe of the universality of faith experiences and expressions—the universality of God’s reality in many names.
Readers of my Cups know I am no religious scholar, just a fellow traveler on the way. I am more clearly seeing the deep yearning of humanity, in all times and all places, to be rooted in what the heart knows as the source of life and love. It is tragic that we’ve allowed philosophical and theological boundaries to be constructed over beliefs large and minute, guarding our borders with some idea of purity that will be rewarded. Of course it makes sense that our different religious traditions meaningfully reflect our different histories, but perhaps that is our need, not God’s.
My Epiphany: Today my faith is stronger than it was last week because some borders have been opened. Thanks be to God. And the Jesus I have come to know is smiling at my daughter, saying “Well done, sister.”