Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday reflection: The many guises of God

Yesterday, my husband and I attended the 50th wedding anniversary celebrations of the parents of a dear friend. Mina's dad and mom, Mukund and Mrudula, were married just a few weeks after mine were back in 1964, and they are celebrating big birthdays this year as well, so it was time for a party.

And a lovely party it was, held at the Hindu Society of Alberta. We arrived in time for icecream, and then settled ourselves at the puja, where Mrudula and Mukund were seated on a platform at the front, participating in the prayer with the priest. I didn't understand what was being said, but could imagine that with every rose petal they tossed, they were giving thanks for their blessings to God -- whose many aspects were portrayed in the statues and pictures adorning the walls and altars all around us. Toward the end of the celebration, everyone stood and sang a song together to the rhythm of drum and bell, and tears came to my eyes. The smiling statues and bright colours of the saris worn by the women around me were beautiful, and I couldn't help but think that God is beauty, generosity, and goodness in all guises. The welcome and hospitality of the Gujarati community yesterday was a clear sign of God's presence in our world, and the food was heavenly!

And as much as Westerners would like to think that Christianity has it all, being in the Hindu temple yesterday reminded me that there are faiths that go back much further than Christianity, and which address our human need to understand and give thanks for the blessings of life. But no single religion can express the fullness of God, which is why the human family has so many expressions of faith. And if they are about love and kindness and non-violence and making the world a better place, they're all good!

Thanks to Mukund and Mrudula for including us in their celebration. May God in Her and His many guises bless them and their family, and give them many more years of happiness together.

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