There is a desperate need in this era of burgeoning pluralism and multi-culturalism for more resources that celebrate the diversity of the human adventure and the unifying element of the Spirit. Aaron Zerah, a leading minister of the interfaith religious movement, addresses this need in this wonderful compilation of stories, prayers, and blessings from the world's great faith traditions. He includes Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Sufi, Hindu, and Taoism material.
Designed for families, this interfaith treasure trove contains 52 stories filled with spiritual insights. One of our favorites is "When the Cat Came to Muhammad." One day the prophet was reading from the Qur'an to a group of believers when a sickly cat walked up, lay down on the hem of his precious robe, and went to sleep. When it was time to leave at the end of the day, the cat had not moved: "Without a word, the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) took a knife, cut off the hem of his robe on which the sick cat still lay sleeping, destroying the finest of robes, and left the cat undisturbed." Other tales in this collection are about Jesus, King Solomon, Krishna, Buddha, and King David. You'll also find Native American, African, Japanese, German, Greek, and Australian aboriginal stories.
Each selection is accompanied by a prayer, a meal blessing, "to do activities," and suggestions for bringing the moral of the tale into focus. For example, children are encouraged to draw a picture of Mohammed's robe and the cat and also to share a story about when a person or an animal needed their help. The Prayer for the Week is from an ancient Egyptian hymn: "O God, O Sun, the cattle rest in the fields, / The plants and the trees are growing, / The birds fly above the wetlands. / All creatures find life when you shine upon them."