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December 19, 2011

How becoming a Buddhist helped me to love Jesus.

“A tender shoot has started up from a root of grace…”

Last night I went to our local carol service in the beautiful Malvern Priory. The pews were packed. The stained glass glowed golden.

The carols were interspersed with readings from the Bible, with unlikely sounding happenings and descriptions of religious experiences.

When I was a girl, I went to a religious school and we’d have similar services at Christmas. I thought it was all ridiculous. How did we know these things really happened? How could Jesus be the son of God? Did people really believe these things?

Since becoming a Buddhist, I heard these readings with completely new ears. I could appreciate the beauty of the language and the aspirational qualities of the stories. I could now appreciate the truth that the Bible stories were pointing towards. The intense emotion no longer scared me. I’d felt some of it myself.

“…it blooms without blight, it blooms without blight…”

You might think of yourself as religious or you might not. I’m not really talking about religion. I’m talking about allowing ourselves to open to new experiences.

If we can open ourselves to new experience, it will change the whole world for us.

As the choir sang, I was touched by the golden light of Christ. I was moved by his compassion and love.

I hope you can find your own golden light, whether it belongs to Jesus, or Amida Buddha, or to delicate pink cyclamens in a Winter garden.

“…blooms in the cold bleak winter, turning our darkness into light…”

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A tender shoot has started up from a root of grace,
as ancient seers imparted from Jesse’s holy race;
it blooms without a blight, it blooms without a blight,
blooms in the cold bleak winter, turning our darkness into light
(A tender shoot – words & music: Otto Goldschmidt 1829 – 1907)

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To help you find your golden light in the New Year, join our River and pay attention to something properly every day. 13 days to go…

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Photo by mharrsh via Creative Commons, with thanks.

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