This morning, I read a Psalm: “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.”- Psalm 86:5 Keep in mind the "all who call to you" as I share what else I read...
Sometimes I do the devotions at sacredspace.ie. It is a site run by the Irish Jesuits. Each day they post a scripture reading and prayer that is very beautiful. Of all the people in the world, locked by war, you might imagine that the Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants have a longing for peace. At the bottom of the site there was a link to Prayer for Peace on Earth...and this is what I found...
Buddhist prayer...Evoking the presence of the great compassion, let us fill our hearts with our own compassion - towards ourselves and towards all living beings. Let us pray that all living beings realise that they are all brothers and sisters, all nourished from the same source of life.
I've never read a Buddhist prayer before. And though this will sound silly, my first response was "how do they know that?" How do they know that God's character is compassion. After all, how different is "the great compassion" than the Apostle John writing "God is love"? The prayers continued...
Jewish Prayer...Cause us, O Father, to lie down in peace, and rise again to enjoy life. Spread over us the covering of your peace, guide us with your good counsel and save us for the sake of your name. Be a shield about us, turning away every enemy, disease, violence, hunger and sorrow. Shelter us in the shadow of your wings, for you are a God who guards and protects us, a ruler of mercy and compassion…. Blessed are you, Lord, who spreads the shelter of peace over us, over His people Israel, and over all the world.
Jain Prayer...Lead me from death to Life, from falsehood to Truth. Lead me from despair to Hope, from fear to Trust. Lead me from hate to Love, from war to Peace. Let Peace fill our heart, our world, our universe. - Satish Kumar
Baha’i Prayer...Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be fair in thy judgement, and guarded in thy speech. Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light to the feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart and fruit upon the tree of humility.
Hindu Prayer...Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the Real. Oh God, lead us from darkness to light. Oh God, lead us from death to immortality. Shanti (Peace), Shanti, Shanti unto all. Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in celestial regions. May there be peace on earth. May the waters be appeasing. May herbs be wholesome, and may trees and plants bring peace to all. May all beneficent beings bring peace to us. May thy peace itself bestow peace on all, and may that peace come to me also.
Muslim prayer...O God! O our Master! You are eternal life and everlasting peace by your essence and attributes. The everlasting peace is from You and it returns to You. O our Sustainer! Grant us the life of true peace and usher us into the abode of peace. O Glorious and Bounteous One! You are blessed and sublime.
Christian Prayer of St Francis of Assisi...Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love. Where there is injury; pardon. Where there is doubt; faith. Where there is despair; hope. Where there is darkness; light. Where there is sadness; joy.
Yes, I know that there are beliefs beyond these prayers that contridict with Christian beliefs. But given that we have many beliefs within the Christian community that contradict each other, isn't it possible that there are some things we are simply wrong about? And maybe even possible that our wrong beliefs don't stop God from having a relationship with us?
Going back to the Psalm, it occurs to me that there are many who call to God. If He responds in love to them, how could we do less? Not tolerance. Not coexistance. Actual, active love.
I believe that Jesus Christ died to pay for the sin of all (and they just don't know it yet). It would seem that there is a reason we are not commanded to make people believe. We are commanded to love. As it happens, trying to get people to believe like you do does not bring peace. Loving them always does.