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A vision of religious diversity, tolerance and freedom

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We received this essay from a visitor to our web site.
It is somewhat reminiscent of A Christmas Carol. Its author is unknown.
It is a moving story of how a person learned to understand and respect religious diversity, tolerance and freedom.

If anyone knows the author of this essay, we would appreciate receiving the information.

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Well, it had been yet another bad day in the office, and once again it  was the fault of that new girl, MaryAnne.  She is one of those Wiccans, a so-called Witch.  How can anyone in their right mind make this claim, knowing that it goes against God and all of the teachings of the Bible?

She doesn't even have the common decency to keep her Satanic symbol, her pentagram necklace hidden from the view of the decent, God-fearing people in the office.  She has some nerve.  I find that I cannot hate her for this though, for I know that she has been deceived.  Satan works his evil in ways that she cannot see.

I've seen that so-called Wiccan Rede that she has tacked to the wall above her computer.  On the surface, it looks like a decent loving belief, but all one must do is look, look closely and see that by practicing this way, and not embracing Jesus Christ as savior, she is on the pathway to Hell.

As I've said, it was a bad day in the office.  Three times in the past few weeks I have been called in to see my supervisor, and he has told me that I am not allowed to preach to MaryAnne the word of God, to show her the error of her ways.  Today, my supervisor told me that if I continue to "harass" MaryAnne, he would be forced to terminate me.  How can he say this?  He himself is a God fearing man.  And, how can he be so tolerant of the evil that he sees insinuating itself into our workplace?  As I lay down to sleep last night, I asked the Lord for guidance.  "God, grant me a true vision of you, so that I may better lead the faithless onto the righteous path."

A voice said: "Oh, a true vision of Me is it?  Are you sure that you're ready, truly ready to see, my son?"

I sat bolt upright in bed, and there, at the foot of my bed, white of hair and beard, in a long, flowing white robe, stood the Lord my God.  I made to leap from the bed and fall to my knees in front of Him, but He stopped me with a gesture.  "Kneel not before me at this time my son.  Instead, rise and walk with Me, so that you may get a glimpse of what I truly am, as you asked of me in your prayer."

He took my hand, and as I looked, my bedroom was no longer there. It was replaced by a pathway through the woods.  We started to walk, and I was too awestruck for words.  We took the path to the left, and we were then inside St. Catherine's Church, in the middle of a service.  While still standing beside me, God seemed to expand and fill the whole of the church.

I could see smiles of contentment forming on some of the parishioners' faces.  I felt blessed.  God smiled upon me.  "The Catholics hold such pretty masses, don't they?  I like to stop here in this church, because not only do they speak the words, but also they live the life, through teaching, helping the sick and poor, not only with handouts, but helping them learn to help themselves.  Now let us walk on."

We were back on the pathway.  We traveled a bit further along, and then were in the parlor of a funeral home.  A young woman was kneeling before the casket, resting her head on it and crying.  I could see by the similarity, that this dead man must be her father.  God knelt beside her, and drew His arms about her.  "Miss him, that is all right, but weep not for him, for now he is with Me". She wiped her eyes, and stood with a sad smile upon her face, and said "Good-bye Daddy.  I'll miss you," and turned and left the room.

We were back on the pathway.  We walked a little way, and approached a large lodge of some kind.  I could hear music and laughter spilling out of the windows.  I turned to look at God, and was shocked to see, not the flowing white robe, but Him wearing leather and animal furs, his hair and beard now the color of wheat, and a sword strapped across His back. He strode forth, and I saw him approach a figure I had not seen before. As I looked close, I was shocked to see that it was the same face that I had just seen dead, but looking young and strong, and dressed in ancient looking garb, an axe strapped to his waist.

God strode up to him and grabbed him in a great bear hug.  "Welcome my son. We've been waiting for you.  Now, go inside and raise a cup or two, and meet with your brother."  With a hearty slap on the back, he sent the man inside.

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We were back on the pathway.  We walked a bit further, and entered a mosque.  At least I believed so, as I had never been in one before, but had seen pictures of them.  The group of worshippers was not large, but I could see their rapt faces as they listened to the mullah speak.  He was speaking to them of purity, both of the mind and the body, bringing them closer to Allah.

As he spoke, God, dressed now in the robes of the desert, walked among them and briefly laid his hands upon each set of shoulders.  And, from their faces, I could see that these men knew that the words of the mullah were true, and that their spirits felt touched by God.

We were back on the pathway.  After we had walked a bit, we found ourselves in an African village.  People with skin as black as night, the women with their breast shamefully bared, were dancing in a circle, to the rhythm of the drums being played by a group of men.  Somehow though, the bared breasts did not offend me, and the music seemed to seep into my soul. God had become a mighty lion, and He let forth a mighty roar.  The villagers did not seem to hear, but the drums increased their pounding, and the dancers danced with frenzy.

We were back on the pathway.  We walked a bit more, and were on the top of a cliff.  There sitting, painted and covered with feathers, was an old Navajo man. As I watched, he seemed to change into the form of an eagle and take flight, and we were flying with him, soaring high into the air, seeing the vista spread out below us. God, in the form of an eagle Himself, seemed to guide this other eagle through the air, over mountains and through valleys, until he came upon a group of men.  As I watched, the old Navajo man was no longer an eagle, but a young boy instead, and he sat at the feet of these men, to listen to the words of his elders.

We were back on the pathwayapproaching a forest clearing.  I knew this place.  It was known as a place of devil worship and evil.  In the center of the clearing roared a great bonfire, and kiwi torches outlined a circle of sorts.  Inside this circle, in a circle themselves, stood 7 men and 6 women, dressed in robes of varying colors, their arms raised to the moon.

Was that one woman MaryAnne?  I really couldn't be sure.  God walked among them in the circle, touching each one.  He seemed not to be an older man now, but as he made each of three turns around the circle, he was first a young girl, bouncing with energy, then a woman of middle years, with a tender smile for all Her children, and finally, an old woman, body bent, but holding Her head up with pride.  And a woman stepped forward, and yes, it was MaryAnne, and lifted her head to the sky. She said: "Great Goddess, Mother of us all, thank you for joining us tonight. Stay if You will, go if You must.  Know in our hearts You will always be welcome. Blessed be!"

We were back on the pathway.  As we walked along, ahead in the distance I saw the most beautiful man.  Yes, beautiful, though I would never normally think of a man this way.  With blonde hair, and a golden robe, he seemed to radiate sunshine.  God and this golden man nodded to each other as they passed, sharing a smile together.  "My Lord" I asked, "was that an angel?"

God answered: "Well, yes, he is known as that to some.  He is also known to some as a god himself.  That was Lucifer."

His words caused me to stumble.  I couldn't believe that we had just passed the ultimate evil. God looked at me, and He knew my mind.  And He chuckled a bit.  "Think about it logically My son.  The Lucifer that you know is a fallen angel, cast out of heaven for challenging Me.  If I am the all-powerful being, above all others, how could he do this?  How could I allow it?"  "But, in the bible...." I stammered.  "The Bible is a wonderful book, as are the Koran and the Torah and many others, but they are just books, written by the hand of man, not written by Me.  And, it's a bit confusing as well if the truth be known, but that's not up to Me to fix.  These books are wonderful, but only as guidance, for each man and woman must think for themselves." This was an entirely new concept to me. But, I believed He was right. 

"Now, come forth, we must journey little more before you go back." He took my hand once again.  As we followed the pathway, we soared through the stars, listening to the music of the heavens. We became a little flower and a mighty oak. We became a babbling brook, and a mighty ocean. We flitted from flower to flower as a little honeybee, and ran across the plains as a mighty stallion.

All too soon the pathway returned us to my home.  God held my hand a moment longer, and smiled into my face.  "My son, you prayed tonight for a true vision of Me.  To attain this, you need only open your eyes and see what others see.  Good night to you".  Then He was gone, and I was back in my bed.  A dream I thought...only a dream. That couldn't have been real.

A bolt of lightning lit up my room through the window, and thunder crashed through the sky. I thought I heard a voice, from seemingly far away, saying: "Remember, the Lord works in mysterious ways My son."

This morning as I entered the office, I went to the machine for a cup of coffee, and standing there, I spied MaryAnne.  As I approached her, I could see her barely cringe, and I could see in her face that she was expecting yet another onslaught from me and my book.  She seemed to cast her eyes about for a way to escape, but there was none.

I walked up to her and smiled.  "I think I owe you an apology," I said. "I've been a bit narrow minded of late, and I really had no right to subject you to what I did.  It's not up to me to say how you find your path to your spirit. I was wrong to think that was so."

MaryAnne just stood there, not knowing what to say.  "So, I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry, and I hope you will forgive my trespass.  God bless you MaryAnne, and...uh....Blessed Be!"

You know, I always thought that it was just a saying; about people's jaws dropping to the floor, but MaryAnne did her best at that moment to prove me wrong.

Freedom of religion means freedom for all religions.

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Copyright © unknown
Originally posted: 2004-SEP-15
Latest update: 2011-OCT-10

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