Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holy Week in America - What Happened to Spiritual Values?


It is Holy Week and Passover, a time of reverence in the world when people of all faiths should be focused on the values that helped shape America when the Founding Fathers were debating on the type of Republic America must be to help it overcome the factors that ultimately destroyed all major civilizations in the world, immorality and corruption.

From the first days of the American Revolution it became clear that this was to be the first Republic in world history to fully embrace individual freedom, with guarantees written into the Constitution, and the first Republic to embrace the following concept articulated in the Declaration of Independence.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Certain unalienable Rights endowed by their Creator. Historic and powerful, yet steeped in spirituality like no other previous form of government. Article 3 of the US Constitution Bill of Rights further clarified the role of spirituality in America with the following statement of religious freedom.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Beginning with the Founding Fathers the phrase "In God We Trust" was used as an unofficial motto of the USA until it was finally made a law in the 1950's, about the same time the Pledge of Allegiance was modified to include the words "under God" which reads "one nation under God". The linkage between God or the Creator and America is clear.

So while Holy Week is a time of revered religious observances it is also a time to rededicate ourselves to our principles and foundation. It matters not whether you are Christian, Islam or Jewish there is significance to this time. More than that, all three traces their roots to the Holy Land and Jerusalem.

Followers of Judaism hold Passover sacred as the time to honor the escape of the Jews from Egypt, when Moses led them to the Promised Land.

The Christian and Islam followers honor Jesus as the Messiah during this time as it represents the end of his earthly mission. To the Christians he performed the sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper then died and was resurrected as a symbol of everlasting life in the Kingdom of God.

Though the Islam Holy Quran we discover the following:

Many do not know that the true spirit of charity which the Muslim displays, always, towards Jesus and his mother Mary spring from the fountainhead of his faith - the Holy Quran. He does not know that the Muslim does not take the holy name of Jesus, in his own language, without saying Eesa, alaihi assalam ("Jesus, peace be upon him")

We do not know that in the Holy Quran Jesus is mentioned twenty five times. For example:

"We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear signs and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit" (The Holy Quran 2:87)

"O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary..." (3:45)

"...Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of god..." (4:171)

"...And in their foot steps we sent Jesus the son of Mary..." (5:46)

"And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous." (6:85)

Though Jesus is mentioned by name in twenty-five places in the Holy Quran, he is also addressed with respect as: Ibn Maryam, meaning "The son of Mary"; and as the Maseeh (in Hebrew it is the Messiah), which is translated as "Christ". He is also known as Abdullah, "The servant of Allah"; and as Rasul u Allah, the messenger of Allah.

He is spoken of as "The Word of God", as "The Spirit of God", as a "Sign of God", and numerous other epithets of honor spread over fifteen different chapters. The Holy Quran honors this mighty messenger of God, and the Muslims have not fallen short over the past fourteen hundred years in doing the same.

In eight verses from Holy Quran, verses 42 to 49 we are told:
(a) That Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virtuous woman, and honored above the women of all nations.
(b) That all that was being said was God's own Revelation to mankind.
(c) That Jesus was the "Word" of God.
(d) That he was the Christ that the Jews were waiting for.
(e) That God will empower this Jesus to perform miracles even in infancy.
(f) That Jesus was born miraculously, without any male intervention.
(g) That God will vouchsafe him Revelation.
(h) That he will give life to the dead by God's permission, and that he will heal those born blind and the lepers by God's permission, etc.

About the only difference between Christians and followers of Islam when it comes to Jesus and His mother Mary is He is considered the Son of God to Christians and the Mighty Messenger of God in the Holy Quran. Christians believe He died and was resurrected while in the Holy Quran He was taken by Allah. Is that really so different?

All three faiths agree that we must have faith in God (Allah). All three agree that we must follow the Ten Commandments. All three faiths have Holy Sripture that tell much of the same story.

If we honor all faiths in America then we must show respect for all faiths as a Constitutional responsibility. There can be no hatred, no condemnation of other faiths, no disrespect of the Holy Scriptures of all faiths and there must be a rededication by all people to the truths of these Holy teachings.

America is the great experiment. It was the first nation on Earth to guarantee religious freedom. In proclaiming these certain unalienable rights from the Creator we set ourselves apart from all other nations and civilizations and we must never forget it. If we are true to our Constitution and individual scripture there is no room for immorality and corruption in America.

Holy Week would seem to be the right time to remember our roots and to honor our responsibilities.


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