Trust Chaplain’s Blog for Inter Faith Week
Inter Faith Week began on Remembrance Sunday and this significant date was chosen for a specific purpose: ‘To strengthen good inter-faith relations, highlight the positive contribution of faith communities to society, and to increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs. But also remembering the service of soldiers and civilians of many faiths and beliefs.
In World War One 1.5 million Indians of many different faith backgrounds from what was then undivided India fought alongside the British. ‘That there were men in turbans in the same trenches as the Tommies’ said Sharbni Basu.
55,000 British Jews volunteered in all services out of a small community of 300,000 Jews.
There is a link on the Inter Faith Network website that is very poignant and moving called ‘The unknown Fallen.’ It features forgotten stories and testimonies from Muslim soldiers from all continents who fought alongside the Allied Forces.
The shared values they gave their lives for-freedom, respect for others and justice and for a lasting peace, values that people of all faiths and none continue to shape and mould our life together as human beings. Every one of them were uniquely valued and loved, and because they gave their lives, in some strange way ‘for us’, we are determined to remember them with gratitude and respect.
November seems to be a time for remembering not only for us a country on Armistice day but also for us as individuals.
A time for reflecting upon the rules and rhythms of our own lives, whether we would interpret that as our own Christian pilgrimage or maybe we have other faiths and different ways of describing our spiritual life. Of recognising and responding to the needs of our human spirit. Our meaning, purpose and connectedness and the importance of our humanity and individuality has a huge impact over all our well-being.
We may often find ourselves seeking answers to profound existential questions. In my ministry as the Trust’s chaplain, I have been priviledged to share in many conversations with people, some who have a faith and others who have not, but who ask these questions: ‘Am I lovable? Whom can I trust? What would happen if I die? ‘Why is this happening to me? These questions cannot be answered without engaging on a spiritual level.
For me spiritual care is care which recognises and responds to the needs of the human spirit when we are faced with the shock of sudden trauma, life changing events, the meaning of life and finding our purpose in life. Equality and Diversity is an ally of spiritual care too.
Recently On one our wards I met a gentleman who is a devout Muslim. He was recovering from heart surgery. We talked about our prayer lives and how this impacted on us and how we lived out our faith in the world. For him as a Muslim, he said it was part of his faith to pray ( Salah) five times a day. This entails various bodily postures and ritual ablution (washing). He told me what the Prophet defined the state of mind, when praying Salah, as being ‘to worship God as if you see Him; if you do not, then know that He sees you’. I thought that was so beautiful and profound and something I recognise and can relate to in my own faith as a Christian. It was a joy to be able to talk and we shared a deep understanding of each other’s perspectives and of how our faiths have so much in common.
People have a rich array of beliefs and values and many wouldn’t describe themselves as belonging to any one particular group or faith or community.
As the Trust’s Chaplain, I am here to promote human flourishing, to listen and to be alongside all of you.