A True Universal Church
Many people think of the “universal church” as referring to the population of people all over the world who believe in Jesus Christ. However, this phrase does not apply to Christians alone, but to all of humanity.
Our planet is home to over seven billion people who follow hundreds of diverse religions and spiritual practices. Some have no religion, but may profess a general spirituality or believe that God exists in some form. They may also believe in an afterlife or reincarnation. Their concept of these things stem from different world traditions or may be completely unique, but the keys to all faiths lie in a few simple ethical truths.
The Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, exists in some form all over the world. Ideally, we are taught at a young age to see ourselves in others. When Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” he was not making up something new. He was referring to a holy truth that was first recorded in the book of Leviticus, but existed long before that.
Charity to others and love for our fellow creatures is considered one of the highest and most holy acts in many faiths. By loving and caring for one another, we love God. Among traditional Native Americans, generosity is the noblest virtue. The greatest leaders often keep nothing but what they are wearing. Muhammad, Jesus, and Buddha all taught the importance of giving away worldly possessions and helping widows, orphans, and homeless people. Jesus said that at the last judgment he will recognize those who served the poor, the sick, and the weak.
Healing is another important concept. Relieving pain, curing sickness, and preventing death are noble callings regardless of faith. This is why health care reform is a deeply emotional issue. The idea that health should be something earned, or that only those who can afford it should receive medical care, is contrary to the ethics of most spiritual beliefs. Jews believe that to relieve the suffering of one person helps the entire world. Many Catholics believe that the Mother of God appeared in Lourdes, France to reveal a sacred spring of miraculous healing. Vaudon, the much-misunderstood faith of the Afro-Cuban world, is concerned with healing and restoring balance to the individual and the environment.
When we live these principles, we encourage others to do likewise. We strengthen our ties to one another as fellow children of God. We are all on our own paths to the ultimate. The Universal Life Church Monastery strongly believes in the rights of all people from all faiths to practice their religious beliefs, regardless of what those beliefs are. Each of us holds a small part of a greater truth. When we unite our spirits with others in loving kindness, combining and sharing our truths, a greater part of the ultimate is revealed. This is the true meaning of the Universal Church.