Posted by |Tenkely|
Recently the 8th grade students at Anastasis Academy embarked on a cultural journey around Denver. Below are pictures of the travels and reflections from the students.
I’m so impressed with the journey of understanding these kids have embarked upon. Their faith has been stretched, and therefore has grown. Please take the time to read their responses below. There is wisdom within, and I’m incredibly proud of all of them.
Look deeper. God works through all areas. Who are we to say what he is and isn’t. We cannot put God in a box. Going from temple to mosque, to church, etc. made me realize God is everywhere. Maybe he isn’t the god the religions worships, but he is still working wonders, weaving himself through other religions. “I am an instrument for Gods will,” said a Hindu Monk. God has the power to do anything. Instead of picking out wrong in other religions, leave the wonder-working to God. In John 13:35 it says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love everyone. Even if the Iman or Reverend say concepts you don’t believe, or the Hindu’s have divas you don’t consider a part of your faith, love the people. As a proud Christian, I am confident in my faith so venturing into other faiths only makes mine stronger.
God is complex beyond measure and can be interpreted in many ways. If you traveled around the world and looked up at the sun, it would be the same sun that can be seen anywhere. The sun can be shown by heat, light and can be seen by reflections everywhere. This is like God. He may be called Allah, Yah, Dios, etc., but it is the same God. Everyone is unique and can see God in a different way through friends, strangers, birds, grass, television, or whatever speaks to them. Pastor Andrew said, “God will burn you, all the way down to grace.” Our class has been learning about Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Baha’i. Before this, when I saw a Muslim or a Hindu, my mind went straight to the stereotypes and I thought they must be crazy and foreign. As I learn and had the opportunity to have a conversation with these people, I realized they truly aren’t that different from me. Sure I may act out my belief in God differently, but does that make either crazy? Now, my Christianity is much stronger. In Islam, I saw kindness and dedication. Buddhism taught me to find peace in mind to help me connect with God. Hinduism taught me that my soul is more important then material and how I look. In Baha’i, I learned how important equality is between all. One of the most important things I learned was to not listen to the stereotypes, like the Buddhist minister said, “Religion is a beautiful thing until people get involved”.
“Disciples of God”
My take away from our religious pilgrimages’ made me think hard. I start to wonder what different religions are like, but in the end of all the wondering, I realized how lucky I am to be a Christian. I’m not saying that the other religions such as Hinduism, Bah’i, Buddhism, etc. are bad religions. What I am saying is that I’m going to stick to what I believe in and I’m proud to be a Christian. Yet in the end, aren’t we all disciples of God? “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34- 35) Why is it that we all get so caught up in the title and look at the differences? The Hindu teacher Tushta said: “Honor the experience and don’t get trapped by the label. ” We all want to be right, but as long as we love one another we all are right.
“Missions on God”
If others love you, we should love back. The Bible says, ” A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Sadly there is a force in this world called hate which blocks off our love towards certain people. Hatred is our choice though. Now you might be asking,”How can anyone be called a disciple?” My answer is, I don’t know. As long as satan is a power on earth, hate and temptation exist. This means technically no one can possibly be a disciple literally. How about emotionally? In the heart, we are all disciples. In some way or another we all show some form of caring which is a prayer in itself to God screaming, “I care! I can love.” Which I believe in God’s eyes is a form of a disciple. What I took away from our two religious journeys is anyone can follow God, anyone can be a disciple, and everyone is made in God’s image and is his child. A Hindu monk asked that there are many words for sun, but is it the same sun? Yes. Then he asked that if that is true then, is it the same God? Yes. So my question for you is, do you think it is the same god?
“Religion is Not Understanding, It’s the Mystery”
This year we’ve been talking a lot about the religions of the world. Some of these that we have studied so far are Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha’i, and of course, Christianity. We have gone on the most amazing journey in our faith through studying these religions. We had an extremely profound conversation on what we had learned so far earlier today. One of the things that stood out the most to me was, as the Buddhist reverend said, “Religion is a beautiful thing until people get involved.” I completely agree with this because we, as humans, are not perfect, and we tend to corrupt just about everything we do, whether we realize it or not. Amazingly, many of the religious leaders agreed that we all worship the same God. Studying this in a Christian school is controversial to many people, but it has brought me so much closer to God. After all, who are we to try to stuff God in a box. The mystery of God is what keeps you wondering and striving to get closer to him.
“A Greater Understanding”
Over the past couple weeks, we have been learning about other religions to have a greater understanding. We learned about Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Bahai. We wanted to see how similar all of these religions were. There is a great Bible verse in John 13: 34-35 says, ” you are my disciples if you love one another.” This is saying that even if we have different beliefs, we can still love one another if we have a greater understanding of these religions. I now know these religions have many similarities as well as differences, but I now have a greater respect for the six religions. At the core these six religions believe in the same things. For example the belief in one God. Just learning that these six religions all have the same belief in one God really helped me come to peace about going and learning in-depth. I now truly have a greater understanding and respect for these 5 new religions.
I am creative.
I am innovative.
I am Anastasis.
<><><>Abbey K. W<><><>
My takeaway from the pilgrimage can be summarized in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This message goes to every religion out there, if you love one another you are showing the love of God. It doesn’t matter if your religion is strict, laid back, or a mixture of both, if you follow this one rule I believe your set by God for the rest or your life. The Bahá’í faith wants to mix Christianity and other religions in with theirs. Now no one is comfortable with the fact that different religions mixing together, but Bahá’í is willing. Going back to loving one another, it doesn’t matter if you mix religions, but if you really want to be a follower, just love someone for who they are, not for how they dress or what they look like. What I really love about the three monotheistic religions is that even though each religion has a different name for God, they all believe that there is only one God. Just like the pastor said, “Gods gospel is everywhere all the time.” Gospel means good news, so God and everyone else can send good news with any actions that you do. If its loving one another, to praying for someone. Anything can be possible with the love of God.
“The lessons of religion”
My takeaway from all of the religions we have been studying is that no matter what religion you are in there is still one God. It’s hard to wrap your mind around on all these different religions, but in the end we can find common ground with one another. The other day we went to a Buddhist temple, Hindu temple, and Bahai temple, each religion taught me something new about life and about their religion. I learned from the Buddhist teacher that not all Buddhist sects meditate and that not all Buddhist believe in the same thing. I asked the lady a question on who she thinks Jesus Christ is and right off the bat she said an excellent teacher, a messenger from God, she even said the son of God. I was so intrigued by the way she described who Jesus was cause not all religions can do that. I also learned that satan isn’t an actually person, that “We all have a different satan inside of us and that it’s just our fears causing the temptations” from the Bahai teacher. The Hindu priest said that “No matter how many names that we call the sun, it’s still the same sun”. He was referring to that no matter how many names God has he is still God. Through my learning of all the different religions I have grown closer to God and as they always say it’s better to have more questions than more answers.
Maddie H 🙂