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Doesn't This Sound Familiar?

Devotional by Anne Remington

Our speaker said he believes in one god. He believes in the power of prayer. There are certain rituals in his religion but more important'y, he believes in action — that is, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, giving comfort to the oppressed... His religion has a sacred text that has been passed down through the centuries. In the beginning it was passed down orally. There are different interpretations as to the meaning of some words. His religion has many different sects. These sects may have different rules and practices. His religion begins with Abraham and includes many different prophets. Doesn't this sound familiar?

Before we could ask, this gentleman said yes, it is true — there are certain extremist groups who misuse his religion — who use religion as an excuse to do their grievous acts.

This reminds me of Christianity where sadly our history includes the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials, and the Ku Klux Klan. (You might think of other examples.) Over the years, many, many people have died in the name of Christianity.

At the beginning of his talk, I tried to take notes, but I couldn't. I was too busy listening. I listened carefully. During his hour our speaker had much to tell, said it all very carefully and concisely. I was drawn by the warmth of his personality. I would like to know him better. He would make a kind, interesting neighbor. This gentleman was our speaker for "Lunch and Learn" on Tuesday, March 22. He is Sarosh Anwar, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Islamic Center of Saginaw. He is a cardiologist in Saginaw. He is originally from Pakistan, and is of the Muslim faith. If I had heart problems, I would like to have him for my doctor.

He echoed Pastor Jamie. He said we need to form relationships. We need to get to know each other.

Oh yes, I do remember one fact. Mohammed lived sixty-three years, a long life for a man of his time. But of much greater importance than facts, this speaker revealed to me once again that at the root of all great religions is the commandment to love one another and to practice all that love implies. Listening to Sarosh Anwar gave me comfort. Much of what he said sounded familiar. When we listen and get to know one another, we are awakened at how much we all have in common. No, it wasn't facts that I gathered from Sarosh Anwar's words, it was a sense of kindness. This doctor exudes kindness. It seems to me he is a good ambassador for his faith.

Let us pray: Our Gracious Creator — Help us to see, to listen, to learn, to know how much we all have in common. We are all your children, commanded to practice your love. May we strive to do just that. May we be aware, be comforted by the warmth of kindness coming our way. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.


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