April 1998: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 2

Our God is One and the Same

Continued from page 1

To make progress and move forward into the future, we must set aside that which separates us and seek out those ideas and beliefs that we have in common. Examples of some wonderful attempts to make progress include the Promise Keepers, and the people who participated in the Million Man March. Yes, there are questions that need answering about the man who initiated the march, but he too will be judged by God and held accountable in due course. The fact that so many people were touched in a positive way and joined together in spite of their differences cannot be ignored. Remember what Jesus said in the Bible, that he who is without sin cast the first stone.

When I read the book of JAMES in its entirety, I was struck by the message he was sending to the recipients of his letter! The Quran states that God has sent the same message down through many messengers and prophets, some known to us and some not known. For almost every verse written by James, a passage from the Quran would come to mind that conveyed the same message. Based on my belief in what the Quran says, James being a disciple of Jesus knew God’s message to us; he had been a follower of Jesus and according to the Quran, had born witness that he was a supporter of God and His messenger, Jesus, and was himself a submitter.

This was further proof to me of the truth of the Quran’s claim that all scripture has been sent by God.

With the comparison that follows, I hope to highlight the common ground which we all stand upon as Jews, Christians, and Muslims. God willing, anyone who calls himself or herself Godfearing will identify with the following material. This attempt does not mean to exclude others who, as believers, may go by another name. As our world grows “smaller,” it is imperative that we find every righteous means to unite and resolve our differences and recognize the common ground that we share. Instead of focusing on what separates us, we need to reach out to one another to solve the problems that inevitably will come back to haunt all of us. We live in a global neighborhood. Our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers may be in Bosnia, Israel, Lebanon or Palestine; maybe they are keeping the peace, maybe they are struggling to escape persecution. Our neighbors in Mexico are crossing our borders trying to find a better life on our side of the fence. In Brazil for example, there are people still fighting slavery; in an attempt to get out of poverty, they are loaned money to get started in “promising” jobs, then hired to work and underpaid so that they actually owe more money to their employers than they earn. Look no further than our own interior — many Native Americans are still struggling to find themselves on reservations that seem to offer little or no opportunity.

Look at the ghettoes of the inner cities where many people of black heritage are struggling against a system that clearly excludes many of them despite the gains that have been made since the Civil Rights movement.

People in Africa are struggling against civil wars, famine, political and religious oppression. Northern Ireland is a travesty—is it a political war or a holy war? Both sides claim God on their side, so what is the argument? Just mention the Middle East—again everybody claims God on their side but everyone is suffering. If everyone believes in God, why are they fighting? We cannot call ourselves believers when we turn our backs on the pain and suffering next door, or worse, if we are guilty of inflicting that pain on our neighbor. We cannot continue to give God lip service only and ignore the realities of why we are really here. If we truly believe in God, then we have to recognize the message He gave us through all the messengers and prophets He sent to us. First and foremost, we have to worship God and God alone. Then we have to ask God to guide us, and as James says, be prepared to follow the guidance.

God willing, we will attempt to build bridges, and continue to tear down walls. Perhaps if we listen more, and talk less, we can make this world a better place to prepare for the next world, which is ultimately, what this life is all about.

Peace to all and God’s blessings.

Anna E. Jordan