Sons of Abraham

Good morning.

Every once in a while a student, usually a boy in IB1 will stop by, often in February, and say something like this:

“I’ve always worked pretty hard at school, but this year I’ve been working really hard. And it just hit me that, I’m going to have to work even harder next year, so that I can go to a university, where I will also work hard, so that I can go to graduate school to work hard, to get a job to work hard, to get promoted to increasingly more demanding jobs that will require me to work harder still – all so that I can buy a house, get married, and send my son to UCC where he can learn how to work hard.”

This is the “What’s it all about question?” and if you haven’t asked it yet, you probably will before too long. It’s a good one to ponder, if not now, then especially in your university residences, particularly late in the evening.

So why do you work so hard? What is the point of all of this? And without getting terribly morbid, the important reality that is linked to this is this: We all die. There are no thousand-year old men in your neighbourhood, not even in Forest Hill.

So if life is finite, if time is short, why doe we spend so much of it in what sometimes appears to be a mindless rat race? Someday, and forgive my Irish melancholy on this, someday if you are lucky, you will be on your deathbed, and you’ll have a chance to ask yourself this: What did I do with my life? If your answer is only, “My stock portfolio went up 3.25%” you may not be completely satisfied or terribly serene as the lights go out.

My hunch is that we all yearn for something more. That “more” is, I think, a yearning for transcendence, for something greater than ourselves. Most of us would agree that life is more than a celebration of nerve endings, that we are not taking a dizzying ride, on a spinning planet, as it hurtles through a dark and indifferent universe. (Wow. That’s pretty heavy for a Monday morning!)

For centuries man has answered that meaning question by looking at life through a religious lens. Whether it is the Imam’s serene sense of submission, the rabbi’s call to learning, loyalty, and gratitude, or the priest’s belief in resurrection and redemption – all of these flow from the Abrahamic tradition of monotheism, a belief in one God.

This morning we are fortunate to welcome back Rabbi Moscowitz, Imam Subedar, and Father Hibberd to explore all of these issues.


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