Multifaith Mashup: For April 8, 2018

by Vicki Garlock on April 3, 2018

“God as light” across traditions
David John Kilowski CC 3.0

The Revised Common Lectionary readings for Sunday, April 8, 2018 can be found here. This post provides ideas for 1 John 1:4-7.

We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true;

but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

As the poster image shows, the idea that God, or some aspect of God, is “light” can be found in many faith traditions. Here are a couple of passages from the Qur’an and the Bhagavad Gita that speak directly to this concept.

From the Qur’an:

Surah 5 (The Repast), Verse 16 (Yusuf Ali translation, ASIR MEDIA, 2002)
Wherewith Allah guides all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leads them out of darkness, by His Will, to the light — guides them to a Path that is Straight.

[Note: Allah is simply the Arabic word for God.]

Surah 14 (Abraham), Verse 5 (Bakhtiar translation, islamicworld.com, 2007)
Indeed We had sent Moses with Our Signs: Bring out your folk from the shadows into the light and remind them of the Days of God; truly in them are Signs for every enduring, grateful one.

[Note #1: The Islamic tradition includes a long line of prophets, many of whom are familiar to Jews and Christians. Islamic prophets include: Adam, Abraham, Ishmael, Jonah, and Jesus. Moses — Musa in the Islamic tradition — is frequently-mentioned in the Qur’an, and Muhammad’s life is thought to parallel that of Moses.]

[Note #2: The Qur’an frequently uses a plural construction when talking about Allah. This is a literary device (since Islam is clearly monotheistic) to denote majesty, power, and glory.]

From the Bhagavad Gita:

Chapter 11 (Cosmic Vision), Verses 12, 17, 19 (Easwaran translation, Nilgiri Press, 2007)
If a thousand suns were to rise in the heavens at the same time, the blaze of their light would resemble the splendor of that supreme spirit.

You wear a crown and carry a mace and discus; your radiance is blinding and immeasurable. I see you, who are so difficult to behold, shining like a fiery sun blazing in every direction.

You are without beginning, middle, or end; you touch everything with your infinite power. The sun and moon are your eyes, and your mouth is fire; your radiance warms the cosmos.

[Note: The Bhagavad Gita is really a long conversation between the warrior prince, Arjuna, and his charioteer/divine mentor, Lord Krishna. In Chapter 11, Lord Krishna reveals his complete, glorious, and utterly incomprehensible divinity to Arjuna.]

Multifaith Mashup provides passages from the writings/sacred texts of other faith traditions that match an excerpt from the Biblical lections offered in the Revised Common Lectionary. Multifaith Mashup is published on Tuesdays and focuses on the lectionary readings for the upcoming Sunday. Questions? Contact us at vicki@faithseekerkids.com. 

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