FRIDAY IN INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK — January 6, 2015

Meditation and Prayer

by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.

 

My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Hindu and Buddhist religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those sacred writings this week.

In Buddhism, hospitality (sakkāra) is the act of being welcoming and helpful to guests (atithi or pāhunaka), strangers (āgantuka) and travellers (addhika).  For the Buddha, hospitality should be shown to all, whatever their caste, religious affiliation or status. The Tipiṭaka often says that the Buddha was “welcoming, friendly, polite and genial” towards everyone who came to see him (D.I,116).  The Milindapañha said that, if a guest turned up at a person’s house after all the food had been eaten, more rice should be cooked in order to feed him and allay his hunger (Mil.107). The Buddha considered failure to reciprocate hospitality to be very bad form. He said: “Whoever goes to another’s house and is fed but does not feed them when they come to his house, consider him an outcaste.” (Sn.128). The Jātaka says: “If for even one night one stops in another’s house and receives food and drink, have no evil thought, for to do so would be to burn an extended hand and betray a good friend.” (Ja.VI,310).

Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of the Eastern religions, let us pray:

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.

You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.

Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.

Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.

Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;

send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters

whom we have deprived of food and conversation.

O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Hindus and Buddhists,

Jews, Christians, and Muslims,

that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.

Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.

Amen.

School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for Joanna Owen, staff; Maureen McLaughlin-Crawford and Norma Melo, students.

Faculty Reflections Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 Morning Prayer Meditations SU STM Daily Prayers

Snapshots: Interfaith Harmony Week – February 5, 2015

2015-02-05_09.06.402015-02-05_09.04.38

Our school is grateful to maintain a close partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) for more than twenty years.  Above are some snapshots from today’s morning prayer led by UUA students.  Below is the Unison Affirmation that we read together:

Love is the doctrine of this community,

The quest for truth is its sacrament,

And service is its prayer.

To dwell together in peace,

To seek together in freedom,

To serve humanity in fellowship,

Thus do we covenant with one another.

Did you know? Our school has signed partnerships with 13 Christian traditions, and collaborates with Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, and Hindu communities. Find out more here: seattleu.edu/stm/about/partners

For more information about worship and liturgy gatherings at the school, visit here.

Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 SU STM Daily Prayers

THURSDAY IN INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK — February 5, 2015

Meditation and Prayer

by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.

 

My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Hindu and Buddhist religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those sacred writings this week.  Swami Tyagananda tells a story from Hindu mythology which highlights the dual role of God as guest and teacher.

Disguised as a wandering mendicant, Krishna visits a wealthy family, who welcome him warmly and offer him hospitality that matches both their devotion and prosperity. When it is time to leave, he blesses his host profusely, promising him even more wealth and glory. Krishna’s next visit is to a poor widow, whose only possession is a cow. She too welcomes him with great devotion but all that she can offer him is a glass of milk. When it is time to leave, Krishna blesses her and tells her that her cow will die soon.

Arjuna, who has accompanied Krishna to both the places, is horrified. He asks Krishna, “Your wealthy hosts lacked nothing and yet you blessed them with even more wealth. Whereas your blessing to the poor devotee accompanied the ominous news that she will lose her cow. This is unfair and unacceptable.”

Krishna smiles and tells Arjuna, “My wealthy host is insanely attached to his wealth and his reputation; he has a long way to go before he becomes spiritually awakened. On the other hand, this poor devotee is already far advanced on the spiritual path. The only thing that is separating her from the highest freedom is her attachment to her cow. I removed the hurdle from her path.”

The insights that this story provides are obvious. God can enter our lives in any form and at any time, often in most unexpected circumstances. The blessing that the divine guest bestows upon us can be difficult to decipher at first glance.

Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of the Eastern religions, let us pray:

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.

You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.

Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.

Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.

Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;

send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters

whom we have deprived of food and conversation.

O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Hindus and Buddhists,

Jews, Christians, and Muslims,

that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.

Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.

Amen.

 

School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for the Integration Clinical II class taught by Christie Eppler; Lizzie Young, staff; Ann Mayer and Andrea McCabe, students.

Faculty Reflections Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 Morning Prayer Meditations SU STM Daily Prayers

WEDNESDAY IN INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK — February 4, 2015

Meditation and Prayer

by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.

 

My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those scriptures this week.

In Surah 6 of the Holy Qur’an, for example, we read these words: “It is Allah who produces gardens, with trellises and without, and dates, and tilled soil with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar in kind, and different in variety: Eat of their fruit in their season; render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah does not love those who waste” [6:17:141]. And the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is remembered as saying this: “Eat together and not separately, for the blessing is associated with the company” [Ibn Majah].

Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of Abraham and Sarah, of Jesus, and of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all), let us pray:

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.

You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.

Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.

Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.

Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;

send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters

whom we have deprived of food and conversation.

O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Jews, Christians, Muslims,

that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.

Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.

Amen.

 

School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for the Systemic Treatment of Addiction and Abuse class taught by William James; Mark Taylor, faculty; Simone Winston, staff; Jonathan Martin and Richard Martin, students.

Faculty Reflections Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 Morning Prayer Meditations SU STM Daily Prayers

TUESDAY IN INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK — February 3, 2015

Meditation and Prayer

by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.

 

My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those scriptures this week.

In the Gospel according to St. Luke, for example, we read that Jesus the son of Mary (peace be upon him), after he was raised from the dead, fell in walking with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, but they failed to recognize him [Luke 24:13-35]. The three conversed together as they walked, talking about the scriptures and Jesus’ life and death and resurrection. Although their hearts began to burn within them, still the two did not recognize Jesus. Only sitting at table, at the end of their journey, when Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them, were their eyes opened.

Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of Abraham and Sarah, of Jesus, and of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all), let us pray:

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.

You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.

Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.

Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.

Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;

send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters

whom we have deprived of food and conversation.

O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Jews, Christians, Muslims,

that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.

Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.

Amen.

 

School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for the Theology in an Ecumenical Context class taught by Michael Kinnamon; Mike Raschko, faculty; Catherine Smith, staff; Tina Alvarado, graduate assistant; Andrew Lundquist and Gretchen Luoma Cohan, students.

Faculty Reflections Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 Morning Prayer Meditations SU STM Daily Prayers

MONDAY IN INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK — February 2, 2015

Meditation and Prayer

by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.

 

My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those scriptures the first three days of this 2015 Interfaith Harmony Week.

In the Torah, for example, we read that our ancestor Abraham (peace be upon him) was visited by the LORD when he showed hospitality to three men who arrived at the entrance to his tent by the terebinth trees of Mamre [Genesis 18:1-15]. Abraham invited the visitors to get out of the blazing sun and sit in the shade. He offered water so they could bathe their feet. He asked Sarah to bake bread, while he had a choice calf prepared. The guests feasted, as Abraham waited upon them. Their conversation turned to Sarah and one of the men promised that upon his return a year later, old Sarah and older Abraham would have a child.

Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of Abraham and Sarah, of Jesus, and of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all), let us pray:

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.

You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.

Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.

Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.

Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;

send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters

whom we have deprived of food and conversation.

O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Jews, Christians, Muslims,

that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.

Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.

Amen.

 

School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for the Science and Religion class taught by Mike Raschko; Erica Martin, faculty; Beth Smith, staff; Steve Childress, graduate assistant; Louise Locke and Catherine Lucia, students.

Faculty Reflections Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 Morning Prayer Meditations SU STM Daily Prayers