An Interfaith Perspective

An Interfaith Perspective
Kerr Street Cafe
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About the Author

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

The Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes is the Minister of Maple Grove United Church, and is a member of the Interfaith Councill of Halton. A chatty extrovert with a conversational preaching style, a multi-tasker who is a “multi-worrier” when it comes to caring about people’s problems, and a leader who treasures teaming with the lay people in her church, Morar says that at Maple Grove she has experienced “a deeper level of ministry than I thought possible.” Anyone who has personally received Morar’s deeply compassionate caring and wise counsel will testify to what an inspirational, healing and encouraging ministry it is.

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When have you been hit by a truth you didn’t see coming? When have you been transformed at the very foundation of your soul?

Often it seems that transformation comes through difficult experiences or experiences which at first seem very strange. But I fear I often close myself off from God’s grace working on me through experiences that are strange to me. And I am the poorer for it.

But when I do open myself to the strange or embrace the difficult, I am surprised at what happens. A small incident in which I was convicted of this:

Since 2001 I have been a member of the Interfaith Council of Halton.

Similar Values

When we began, at each meeting we would teach one another about high holy days, coming of age rituals, family values …
Through this first year we all began to see similarities in our values

As we celebrated our similarities, we came to know and like each other.

As we began to develop trusting relationships, we were able to ask more difficult questions of one another – trying to understand practices or teachings that seemed very different.

Disturbing Differences bring New Understandings

My Muslim friend started to speak about the practice of offering animal sacrifices – which stems from their teachings about Abraham and the almost sacrifice of Isaac Frankly, I felt revolted to think of a family sacrificing an animal.

But as I listened to this strange practice described, and a transformation took place.

We learned that once the animal was butchered, it was divided into three:
a third given to immediate family,
a third given to neighbours and friends,
and a third to the poor.

As I struggled to identify with this practice, I came to see that this was a central way that Muslims communicated to their children the central values of family, hospitality and charity.

And I began to wonder about my practice of going to the store and picking up just enough meat for my own family — the animal was just as dead — but I was missing an opportunity to communicate the values of my faith to my children.

Their teachings arising from this ritual reminds me of the life that Jesus calls us to, and that we have a need to teach our children to cherish family, to offer hospitality, and to live with charity.

God’s Grace working through the Hard Places of our Lives

If we are open to God working in our lives in strange or difficult times, our transformation will open us and others in grace-filled ways.

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