A common theme of kindness

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The more involved in #1000speak , the more my mind has opened. I want to write some posts that cover some of the common areas of compassion that have been talked about. Compassion covers such a broad area. I love that we will be continuing this on a monthly basis. I love that we have gotten sub-topics for each month yet, still under the wing of compassion. However, sometimes the words just need to come out and this is one of those times.

Religion can be such a touchy topic. We often look at the differences. We often make judgement based on the religion as a whole. There are extremest and I would even go so far as to say terrorist in every religion. It does not and should not mean they represent the entire religion. The only way to really find out what a religion is about is to learn. The biggest hurdle is actually wanting to learn; wanting to leave behind judgement and assumptions and learn. The more I have done this the more I have seen similarities. The more I have seen religion mostly talks about kindness and love. It is the general theme that runs through them all. This Sunday our sermon was about Radical Hospitality, that seems like a great place to start.

 As someone who not only loves to read but also loves to research questions like this, I can tell you I got lost in Google. Before I knew it, I had twenty tabs open.Generally I find these kinds of stories fascinating to begin with. Stories that tell a story but also teach a value.  I can safely tell you there is not a lack of stories that talk about being kind, showing hospitality, having compassion. As is often the case in life, not one of these stories teach only one lesson. Really they could be deconstructed to teach quite a bit more than just one lesson. However, I kept my searches to hospitality. I searched for stories of hospitality in Islam, Jewish,Christian Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca as well as just God’s and Goddess’s in general. I was really aiming for leaving no one religion out. However, I am sure there are many more than just these. Seriously, I had to keep some perspective or I could easily still be lost in the search three days later.

I think the first step is to know what does the word hospitality really mean. Dictionary.com states it is a noun and an adjective; 1.the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. 2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. I wanted more though and then I stumbled upon the synonyms. Kindness, warmth, generosity, and even more into those words heart,love and compassion show up. Something I noticed is it doesn’t say anything about “the golden rule” treat others as you expect to be treated or treat others as you would treat yourself. The Minister today made a good point that how we treat ourselves is really not a good place to start from. I know I don’t always treat myself with compassion and kindness. I can be down right mean and overly critical of myself.

Islam speaks of how the Profit Muhammad showed hospitality,whether the guest was expected or not. There are many references to hospitality in the qu’ran and it often references the story The Honored Guests of Abraham. A story of entertaining angels. While this can also show that sometimes it feels awkward for the host as well, it also shows not to make judgments. Abraham thought they were odd but still he showed them hospitality.  Hospitality is also heavily through the Christian Bible as well. In Hebrews 13:2 it also states to always show hospitality as many have entertained angels unaware. 1 Peter 4:9 also states to do so without grumbling. This is a great reminder that hospitality should be given without complaining.  Even the Buddha stated that hospitality should be shown to all, whatever their caste, religious affiliation or status.  There is also a great Buddhist story about one way hospitality.  It falls along the lines of selfless service; You must give to receive,which can again be linked back to the bible as well.  Even in Hinduism there is the thought that everyone and everything is god. Therefore the act of hospitality is also an act of worship. They also have a story of God as a guest. I stumbled upon a great Jewish story of A Rich Man’s Hospitality. This one also shows the lesson of seeing people for their own value, not measured by what they have and can give. I especially love the stories of the God’s and Goddess’s. Over and over they show that kindness and selfless acts and true genuine hospitality is the way. From Hestia to Vesta to Empanada and even Zeus was concerned about showing hospitality to anyone and everyone. Wicca celebrates hospitality in the second harvest also known as Mabon.

There are so many things I could say. I could really write about each one of theses stories and religions. However, what I wanted you to see is that it all ties together. It doesn’t matter who you worship or don’t worship, who you believe in or don’t believe in, they are all saying the same thing. In a very broad general term, they are saying to love. Love doesn’t judge, or hate, or assume anything. Love doesn’t care what it does or doesn’t have it gives anyway. This is what they are all saying and I can see that just by zeroing in on one topic. It runs that rampant through all religions.

References:

http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/10662/

 http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/312880/jewish/A-Rich-Mans-Hospitality.htm

http://learningtogive.org/resources/folktales/Calabash.asp

 http://www.buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=178

 http://vedanta.org/2012/monthly-readings/god-as-guest-hospitality-in-hindu-culture/

http://www.openbible.info/topics/hospitality

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/greekdeities/p/HestiaProfile.htm

http://www.thaliatook.com/OGOD/empanada.html

http://www.lib.unb.ca/Texts/QWERTY/Qweb/qwerte/mic_mal/visit.htm

http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/nora/html/51-24.html

  http://www.anglicantheologicalreview.org/static/pdf/articles/snodgrass.pdf

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hospitality

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