Age and Renewal
This blog is published daily or at least publishes a blog for each day, today being the 1030th blog post. The different series are divided into sections based loosely on the liturgical calendar of those religions with an historic episcopate. This blog is not religious in nature though. The spirituality of the world is also included and recently someone asked me why. Why do I not just publish from my own perspective? Why include other religions and discuss various spiritualities?
The purpose of this blog was to have an outlet for discussion, discussions which, I hoped, would expand my own thinking and possibly that of others. Hence, the title of this blog is “n2myhead” or… “into my head”. As we approach the end of 2016, I found it fitting to have been asked this question because life really is about age and maturity and renewal, the very things we often reflect upon at this time of the year. Age and renewal is also the history of the world’s religions and spiritualities and is the timeline for the cultures of humanity.
Today is the third day of Christmas, the second day of Kwanzaa, and tonight will be the fourth night of Hanukkah. It might seem that a Christian holiday, a cultural commemoration of African heritage, and a Jewish celebration of a miracle have little in common, just as viewing the parade of representative in their native garb at the United Nations seems like a party rather than history. Those perspectives, however, belie the truth and the connections all have. They deny the connections we ourselves have.
Hinduism is considered the world’s oldest religion, followed by Judaism and Zoroastrianism. There were no You Tube videos of the first worship services or spiritual practices but it is believed that the beginnings of Hinduism trace back to India’s pre-Vedic times, somewhere around 2000 BCE. Called the oldest of the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism traces its beginnings to the time of Abraham or 1800 BCE. Zoroastrianism is a bit more difficult to track but it is estimated to have begun in Persian from either the eighteenth century BCE to somewhere around the six century BCE. Jainism, Buddhism, and Confucianism also began around the sixth century BCE and the text of Taoism has been attributed to Lao Tzu with a date also in this same religiously spiritual sixth century BCE.
Christianity is approximately two thousand years old with Islam coming six hundred years later. Because it also is an Abrahamic faith along with Judaism and Christianity, some claim it had its beginnings with Abraham as do some Christian scholars. The word “Islam” translates as “submission to the will of God” so it is understandable that since the Quran considers Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses as submitters, they might claim this earlier date. As an organized religion, nonetheless, it came into existence with the prophet Mohammad in Arabia in the seventh century ACE.
History is a nondenominational, non-spiritual recording of the history of the world and those in it and yet, even history did not escape the influence of spiritualties and religions. The western of Georgian calendar used worldwide uses the Christian birth of Christ, the man known also as Jesus of Nazareth, as the axis point or divider for historical events. Up until recently the terms “B.C.” and “A.D.” were used, referring to “Before Christ” and “Anno Domini” which is Latin for “in the year of the Lord”. Now the terms are “BCE for “Before the Common Era” and “ACE” or “After the Common Era”.
Shinto is considered the indigenous or traditional religion of Japan and it came into being somewhere around the eighth century ACE. The world’s youngest religion is Sikhism which was founded in India by Guru Nanak approximately in 1500 ACE. These major religions are not the only ones practiced in the world, however. Another religiously active century was the nineteenth century. Baha’i in Persia, the modern-day Iran. Christian Science in Boston, MA, USA, and Mormonism in Western New York are made an appearance during the 1800’s.
The twentieth century, known for its industrial revolutions and advancements in computer technology did not omit spirituality either. Rastafarianism was found in Jamaica in the 1930’s; L. Ron Hubbard began his Church of Scientology in New Jersey, USA in 1953 and the Unification Church was founded in South Korea the following year. Also during this time Great Britain saw a revival of ancient European indigenous paganism with traditions being unified under the heading of Wicca.
This timeline illustrates how we are connected not only with the use of a common sense of time but also by the aging and renewing of beliefs with different perspectives. This time of year is the perfect time to emphasize those connections and take heed of the gifts we all have with them. Each celebration serves a purpose and gives us an avenue to reconnect. Just as we age and learn, growing into our own person, so does the world age and renew itself.
Writer Deborah Day believes that “Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling.” I agree. It is the very nature and purpose of this blog. The Roman writer Ovid in his “Metamorphoses explains why this is important or should be important to us: “As wave is driven by wave and each, pursued, pursues the wave ahead; so time flies on and follows, flies, and follows, always, forever and new. What was before is left behind; what never was is now; and every passing moment is renewed.”
During these eight days of Hanukah, these twelve days of Christmas, and six days of Kwanza, we are called to remember, revere, and renew. It is the essence of life. It is our purpose for living. It is proper, then, that each includes the lighting of candles. They serve to help light the path before us and to take us out of the darkness of the past. “For within your flesh, deep within the center of your being, is the undaunted, waiting, longing, all-knowing. Is the ready, able, perfect. Within you, waiting its turn to emerge, piece by piece, with the dawn of every former test of trial and blackness, is the next unfolding, the great unfurling of wings, the re-forged backbone of a true Child of Light.” (Jennifer DeLucy)