Today in church our minister talked about the idea of having many different ways to say something. He told us that the “creeds” that we recite were written to uphold some particular version of God against another version. (This is within the Christian Church, not the Christians trying to prove that some other faith is wrong.) Our minister suggested that when we sing a hymn, or recite the doxology we might want to use words that expressed our individual understanding. I often say in the last line, instead of “Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” “Praise Mother, Child, and Sophia.”
I reminded me of an experience I had at Findhorn for the Festival of Sacred Music, Song, and Dance. We were gathered in the great hall, about 200 of us. In the center were 6 singers, each with a big poster saying words in different languages. We all stood in six wedges, and each wedge learned one set of words. These words were:
OM MANE PADME HUM
LA ILLAHA IL ALLAH HU
GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO
O GREAT SPIRIT, SUN AND SKY AND SEA,
YOU ARE INSIDE, AND ALL AROUND ME.
After we had each learned the tune that went with the words, we began to sing. It was like a round with six parts. After we had done it for a while, they suggested that we should wander around the outside and listen to, or even join another group. Finally they suggested we pick the one that felt most appropriate and sing that one, and wander around the individually. I felt closest to Buddhism, so I sang “Om Mane Padme Hum,” and as I walked around I heard “Shanti, shanti,” “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” and then another “Om Mane…” O there’s one of my clan. We are all walking about, singing the name of god in our own language, and we are making beautiful harmony together. I had a very strong sensation that we were the planet. I’ve never forgotten that experience.
Recently we did a circle dance to a new piece of music called “Dreams of Harmony.” It affected me the same way. It’s also a round, and they sing “Good night,” in nine different languages. It’s a perfect example of what we do when we dance dances from around the world, even the dances of our “enemies,” we are celebrating our differences, not fighting about them.
As the current world situation seems to get scarier everyday, I listen to this. It’s a beautiful antidote.