After a church sermon one Sunday, a new member of our congregation asked me how I became an All Faiths Minister. When it happened again last Sunday, I knew it was time to share this story hopefully as a way to break down the separatism between religions, and open a doorway for God, Love, to shine on us all.
I believe in the future , the trend will only get larger where more ministers will want to be able to attend to people who come from a variety of faiths in life. A goal of mine is to somehow use the gifts of ministry to positively affect the lives of those in our congregation and any other congregations I am blessed to address as well as hospitals, or those in recovery and treatment centers, who come from a different faith than myself, or even no faith at all.
As an All Faith Minister, I want to use the gift of love to assist everyone on their path to personal growth, and if they choose, their walk with God. By having even a minimal understanding of different faiths, ministers such as myself can be of the greatest service to everyone, and even help those who are trying to find the walk with God they feel most comfortable with.
My personal walk with God began in the Catholic Church where I served as an altar boy for many years. My aunt Rita, sister Regina, is a nun with over 70 years of dedicated service, so my beginnings were definitely influenced by my Catholic upbringing. Like many people, I left the church when I was old enough to make my own decisions, and quite frankly never believed I'd go back to these beginnings. The church at that time seemed too steeped in traditions from the past, and my short attention span needed something more interesting to keep me on path.
Years passed and then I was introduced to Buddhism, and the unbelievable beauty of meditation. My yearning was quenched for several years as I delved into the Four Noble Truths and other powerful Buddhist teachings. I learned more deeply about the beauty of God within, and fell in love with this way of life, this amazing religion.
Then I was introduced to Hinduism, and my enthusiasm for religion reached an all time high. I began to follow the path of Bhakti, a path to God that is filled with daily devotion and prayer to God! Singing God's praise at every turn of the day, my energy for God increased dramatically. . Reading Hindu quotes, scriptures and writings whenever a moment opened in my daily schedule became my love for life.
As I delved into these religions, I became more in love with life.........which brought me back to my Catholic upbringing. I went to a mass a number of years ago, and fell in love all over again with what I enjoyed as an altar boy: the rituals of the Catholic Mass. To this day I still love them.
When I was asked to lead my first church service in a non denominational church several years ago, I was ecstatic to realize that I could use all of these teachings to assist the congregation to experience the Divine within, the God that resides in each of us. As it is so beautifully stated in the bible,"Made in His image"(Genesis 1:26).
My path then took the most amazing turn of all, one I relish to this day. I was asked to lead a congregation as a temporary minister, and the fire was lit. That led me to becoming the co-founder of The Church of Spiritual Light, an All Faith congregation in Fort Myers, Florida. As my path continues, I find myself once again, becoming immersed in the power of ritual, the words of Christ, the power of enthusiastic prayer which once again has filled me with the fire of love, the path of God, as we ascend to higher levels of awakening. Awakening to the realization that we all have free will, to find God within, and to spread that energy, that love, to all around us through our daily actions. I feel even more in love with God now than ever before.
I love to read writings from all types of spiritual masters: monks, rabbis, nuns, priests and more, and am about to begin a class on Kabbalah, the mystical arm of Judaism. I daily read scripture from the bible and look for the love that resides in everyone, the God within each of us.
Slow down and find love, God, in all you do as we respect the faiths that surround us.
Love, peace, Rev. David www.davidessel.com