Couldnt help smiling to myself at 7:00 am, while driving to work early this morning, after dropping the girls and grandson at school, thinking about what to deliver in this mornings sermon to my good '59er mates.
Then it struck me to say something about all the material things that men shower upon "Gods" across the globe.
The Ka'aba in Makkah, in Saudi Arabia, is a cube shaped structure made from bricks and mortar and is considered a central point to which all Muslims are expected to face during prayer and supplication as it is supposed to represent the House of God that Adam first built and then was destroyed and was rebuilt by Prophet Abraham many years thereafter. Thats fine by me in considering it as a point of meditation and thought without any veneration to the object itself which, in Islam itself, would be considered "Shirk" or Idolatry, which is totally blasphemous.
However, the Saudi authorities have assigned a special unit to prepare the black cloth and its golden thread engravings that take almost one whole year to prepare with so many hands working on the project. The event when the old cloth is removed and the new one raised up is also considered very special and celebrated with all kinds of pomp and pageantry no different from that which we see being offered to the idols in Buddhist/Hindu/Christian places of worship, which, in Islam is considered as total idol worship. Even portions of the old cloth are cut and distributed to diplomats, celebrities, and people in high places who take them home carefully and redistribute even smallr pieces to their family and friends, as if to say that the cloth would protect them from harms way or evil. Once the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Riyadh gave us a small piece of the cloth too which I had with me for many years in my wallet with the belief that it would save me from evil.
Next, the door of the Ka'aba is made of solid Gold. During the time of the Prophet it was made from wood and date palms which was of very little value, materially.
Why, may I ask, God needs all these worldly material treasures? isnt He Capable enough to get whatever He pleases for Himself rather than look forward to his mortal creatures conjjuring up gold threaded black cloth to cover his House and erect Gold doors to a brick cube?
Then comes the sacrifice of animals in the name of God that is executed every year during the pilgrimage of Hajj. Yes, in the old times the meat of the animal was utilized by the poor who were abundant in Arabia and served them well for food. No doubt, even today, the Saudi Government is freezing the meat with liquid Nitrogen and shipping the meat out to Africa & Asia and distributing it to the poor and needy. The question is, "does God need the meat?" I dont think so. f it was done, then as a means to serve the poor and hungry, its all well and good, since animals are certainly meant for food, of course the vegetarians will disagree with me on this conclusion for sure.
Coming to the rituals of other faiths we see the same phenomenon being carried out by way of rituals. Golden idols, Golden Temples, Precious stone studded monuments, Flowers, Joy Sticks, Incense, Coconuts, Fruits, Jewelry, and even cash being dished out for the sake of the upkeep of the Gods while Millions are starving on the streets.
All religious rituals involve very high cost of expenses and all kinds of physical and mental exertions that take up so much time and energy. What if all these resources are channelled to uplift the downtrodden?
We see million s across the planet suffering without food, water, homes, clothes, education, medical facilities, etc. We see millions being abused and traumatized across the globe. Surely we can utilize all these resources to salvage their plights?
Think about it!