REV. RICHARD A. SCHUMACHER God is revealed through diverse faiths
As a longtime student of the Scriptures, I consider myself to be a follower of the Gospel. This led to professional theological training and subsequently to accepting the position as minister of Unity Church Centre in Girard. The following scripture, believed by many to be the infallible Word of God, provides me with a context to understand my own faith and to embrace a broader religious thought.
"After them we sent forth Jesus, son of Mary, confirming the Torah already revealed, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light, corroborating what was revealed before in the Torah: a guide and an admonishment to the righteous. Therefore let those who follow the Gospel judge according to what God revealed therein."
Although this scripture may be obscure to many, I find in it an "angelic advice" that bids me to recognize the activity of God in other belief systems. First and foremost, it reminds me that I have a source of guidance and light that is always available in the Christian Gospels and that those Gospels confirm the law of the Torah, or first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures. In these Hebrew Scriptures, I find powerful insights to help guide my life, and when I, in my desire to live life according to a higher standard than I have chosen in the past, make mistakes, I find help in adjusting myself to myself, to my God and to my neighbor. To love God and my neighbor as myself is the greatest of laws from the Torah.
It also seems to confirm Jesus' own words as He declared, "I do not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it." It definitely confirms what I have come to believe. I have come to know that if I am to consider myself to be a follower of the Gospel then I must judge my life, my circumstances and the world according to what God has revealed in the Gospels, according to a higher standard.
I know, too, that my judgment may be flawed since the very Scriptures that are to provide me light must be passed through the prism of my mind and heart.
Here the bright white light of truth is colored by my intellectual and emotional makeup. The light of God is refracted by my consciousness and reflected in the conditions of my life. The unlimited truth I seek seems to be subject to my limited experience. How then can I discover the light of truth in its pristine splendor? Only by expanding my search to places I might not usually go.
Until Sept. 11, 2001, I had spent little time exploring the Koran, but it was there that I found the above "angelic advice." It was there I found the angel Gabriel revealing to Mohammed the above scripture; the same angel Gabriel that appeared to Mary mother of Jesus some 600 years before. It seems as though God can and will reveal himself through many holy books and he will reveal himself to many men in many lands. Perhaps most important of all is the realization that he will reveal himself as the Light that enlighten the minds and hearts of those who seek Him in unusual places.
XThe Rev. Richard A. Schumacher is minister of Unity Church Centre in Girard.