Vicar's Musings for Ordinary Sunday 25
16 September, 2012
This week I was invited to address the Prison Chaplain's Conference in Toolangi. Travelling there by car I had the opportunity to listen to talk-back radio for an hour or more, and hear the heated discussion on both sides around the film Innocence of Muslims and the protests against it. Sunday's public protest in Melbourne has been cancelled by the organisers, due to fears of violence, but outrage around the world seems to show no signs of abating. As I write this piece Pakistani soldiers are being deployed on the streets of Islamabad to protect Western Embassies from the protesters. This all gives fuel to Christopher Hitchens thesis that "religion poisons everything" and at times I feel like he might have a point. What hope is there to be found in all this conflict and hatred?
In such times as this it may be helpful to turn to the teaching of the mystics. Rumi, the 13th century Islamic mystic and poet, depicts God's judgement with a very different spirit to that of the current protests:
On Resurrection Day God will say, "What did you do with the strength and energy your food gave you on earth? How did you use your eyes? What did you make with your five senses while they were dimming and playing out? I gave you hands and feet as tools for preparing the ground for planting. Did you, in the health I gave, do the plowing?"
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