Saturday, February 14, 2015

Prayer for Peace — Confucianism

A statue of Confucius in front of a temple in Qufu, China.

In our weekly prayer for peace this year, we are learning about the diverse religious traditions that have shaped our world and the communities of our neighbors.  Today we seek to learn about the tradition of Confucianism.  This system of ethics developed from the teachings of Confucius, a Chinese philosopher active in the sixth and fifth centuries before the common era.  Confucianism focuses on practical issues in this life (as opposed to the other-worldly or transcendent) with a special emphasis on the importance of family, filial piety, loyalty, integrity, continence, and righteousness.  For example, in teaching the virtue of “Ren” or humanness, Confucius taught, “one should see nothing improper, hear nothing improper, say nothing improper, do nothing improper.” Another description of this virtue is “not to do to others as you would not wish done to yourself” — a sentiment which echoes the “Golden Rule” taught by Jesus and many other religious and philosophical thinkers.

Just as the philosophical teachings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle have had enormous effects on the understanding of ethics in the West, including religious beliefs within Christianity, Confucianism has profoundly affected philosophical and religious thought throughout China and the Far East.

In our explorations this year, we are able to celebrate the diversity of thought that has enriched our world and also the threads that feel common to us all.

Prayer for Peace — Gloria Mitchell, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

O Holy One, who has been with us from the beginning and taught us to be your people as you are our God, we beseech you for peace.  We remember the time you led your children through the wilderness to forge them into a people.  We remember you being with Abraham and staying his hand against Isaac.  We remember you guided Lehi and family to a new home, and provided Joseph with the vision needed in the early days of the Restoration.  We remember Martha who served you, Mary who loved you, and Emma who was an elect lady.  This day, as all days, we remember we are part of the past, we are in the present, and look to the future in finding your presence.

We thank you, Almighty, for allowing us to share an understanding of you.  We thank you for opportunities for service, and pray history will record we did praise your name and glorified you.  Thank you God for intelligence and knowledge, but most of all thank you for your grace and gift of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

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