The Legend of Interfaith

Author: Rev. Nancy Schluntz
Newsletter Issue: September 2007

Ordination Sermon

Good afternoon. This is a path that has been a long time walking for me. I have received kick-starts and nudges along the way, and other times it was more like the universal two-by-four to the side of the head.

I am deeply grateful to the many who have helped me reach this point. You have all walked with me as I have deepened into this ministry, and I am grateful beyond words. 

As I learned to speak my own Truth, I was given this dream to share with you – the short version! 

      [single drumbeats throughout]

Harken, my children. The campfire burns bright, and there is a story that wants to be told. 

In the Before, before time began, there was the One. And the One became curious about itself and divided into many parts. And time began. 

These parts made themselves into different forms. Some became water, and finned ones to swim in it. Some became Air, and winged ones to soar on it.  Some became Earth, and scaled, furred and standing ones ones to live there.  Some became Fire, to destroy and recreate. And they all knew they were part of each other. There was harmony and balance, and the heartbeat was strong in the land.

Some emerged as two-leggeds, and walked upon the land. But … as time moved on, the two-leggeds began to set themselves apart from and above the others, until they could no longer hear the voice of the One in the parts that were different from themselves. The heartbeat of the land became softer, until the two-leggeds could no longer hear it.

Time continued. The two-leggeds fell ever farther into forgetfulness. They felt something was missing, and they searched their dim remembering. Some began to remember parts of the One – these they enshrined in ritual, and called by many names. Some even began to remember that—in a Before time—they had been part of the One, with all the rest of creation. They began to know that there are many paths to the One. 


This necklace is One. It is comprised of uncounted beads, almost all of which are different. Here at the Chaplaincy Institute, students began a ritual to close each of the intensive modules of study. Each student presents a blessing to the others, and beads they have selected that somehow reflect the faith tradition being studied. It is highly unlikely that any two sets of beads are exactly alike. 

This represents the diversity of the many parts of the One in humankind.  There are animals and plants here, too. It also reflects the many paths we have created to walk upon. And, strung together, it is a reminder that we are all One. 

In my version of the dream, the many parts of the One, striving to return to the whole, are bringing forth a new wave of creation in the land—a new balance and harmony. As we work together to listen, to hear the voice of the One in the languages of many faith traditions, on the wind and in the waves that fall on the shore, in the voices of furred and scaled and winged ones, there grows hope that humankind can once again move into balance and harmony with the rest of creation. There is hope that the heartbeat will once again become strong in the land.

May it be so.  

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