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Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith - World Interfaith Harmony Week

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Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith

Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith, Agape International Spiritual Center. UN Photo Paulo Filgueiras.

Peace and the Presence of God

It’s my joy to greet you in the power and the presence of the Most High God that lives and breathes and moves through us all, that transcendent presence that recreated itself in its own image and likeness and named itself each and every one of us with such potentiality to express the peace, the love, the joy, the wisdom, and harmony that emanates from its very being.

Each and every individual in this room perfectly reflects the cosmos in a way that has never, ever happened before if we will but let it, if we will but practice the spiritual paths that we’re on and go deep enough to allow that which is in the Holy Scriptures of all the religions.

If we could but go deep enough in our spiritual practice and open ourselves up to the insights and the revelations that are continually bombarding our awareness, everything that we have been talking about here today will unfold like a mighty river moving downhill.

We are here today to open ourselves up to that possibility during this particular week, which has been designated as a week of harmony among the faiths.

The wise words of Dr. Hans Kung, the professor of ecumenical theology and president of the Foundation of Global Ethics, support this premise that there will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions, and there will be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions.
Today is our opportunity to participate with one another in such a dialogue and to spread that among all of us.

Peace is on two levels. There is a peace in which there is no conflict; but that’s the surface level. Then there is the real peace. Real peace is the dynamic of harmonizing good.

It is an emanation of the presence of God within us all because each and every individual knows that if you walk into a room and people are not arguing, you can tell if there’s tension in the room. You can tell if there’s bigotry in the room. You can tell if there’s prejudice in the room. Peace is not in that room simply because there is no external conflict. Peace is the dynamic of harmonizing good, and that kind of peace emanates from a deep and profound spiritual practice.

Religion at its worst holds into an exclusivity. Religion at its best allows us to meet at a common center, where God and love and compassion prevail in each and every one of us.

Though science has turned this world into a wonderful place, perhaps almost neighborhood, it is time for us to turn it into a spiritual brotherhood and a sisterhood by coming to understand the deep meaning of what I just mentioned, that peace is emanating from a dynamic insight and awareness.

I want everyone to take a deep breath with me. Just take a deep breath, and release. At that moment, you have met at the very center of your being. At that particular moment, you have met at the holy breath. At that particular moment, you’re meeting at that which transcends religiosity and transcends the external bounds of that which seems to separate us.

If we are to really make of this world a sisterhood and a brotherhood, it means that we are to lift our religion to be a vehicle to the transcendent, and then allow that transcendent awareness of the one power, the one presence, the one love and awareness of the transcendent in that moment that we breathe together.

We went out of the surface tension and into an awareness of the dynamic presence of God – compassion, love, wisdom, harmony, all synonyms for the one presence – in that instant.

We could begin to walk together, to sing together, to dance together, to chant together, and then move into a collective action with the will and the willingness to make a mighty difference on this planet, at this time in human history when structures that no longer work are falling apart all around us, and the emergence of good can only be seen by those who have transcended the surface mind.

Regardless of our religious background and persuasion, if our practice is not taking us to the transcendent, we’re not practicing our religion. And if the religion doesn’t take us to the transcendent, then it’s not a true path.

We are here to walk together, to sing together, to meet at the center, and to see the presence of God in each and every one of us. God – not anthropomorphic, but a presence, not an absence. Peace and blessings to all of you.

Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith is the founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center, a trans-denominational community of 10,000 members in Los Angeles, California, and thousands of global live video streamers. He serves as chair of the Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence, which was launched at the United Nations in 1998 and includes the Season for Interfaith and Intercultural Celebration. The Association for Global New Thought co-convenes the forum “Engaged Spirituality for the 21st Century” in partnership with the International Inter-religious Peace Council, which brings together individuals from every faith to discuss topics relevant to global healing. It has also convened three Synthesis Dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Beckwith is an award-winning author and a sought after speaker and meditation teacher.