The Three Faiths Forum meeting at 8.00pm on Thursday 13th June was held at East London and Essex Synagogue, which is near South Woodford Station.
The topic for the evening was ‘Teaching Religious Truths by Parable’ and was a Scriptural Reasoning session when we split up into groups, with at least one Jewish person, one Muslim and one Christian in each group.
In my group we first looked at a parable from the Hebrew Scriptures: 2 Samuel 12:1-15. This is where the prophet Nathan tells a story to King David about a poor man having his pet lamb taken from him by a rich man who wanted to use it to feed a guest. The king is outraged by the story but Nathan then tells David that he is like that rich man, when he took the wife of another poor man for his own pleasure.
So the parable is used to make a point and David realises he has sinned and repents.
The second parable we looked at was the story of The Prodigal Son from Luke’s Gospel, showing how God welcomes back sinners if they have repented.
The third parable we considered was from the Qur’an. It concerned two men, one of whom had two very fruitful gardens and ascribed this to his own efforts, boasting about his good fortune. The other
man reminded him that all good gifts come from Allah and not through our own efforts. In course of time the rich man’s property fell into ruin so he lost all he had and realised he was in the wrong.
It was interesting reading these three parables from each of the three faiths and seeing how parables can be used as a means of religious teaching.
I had not expected to find parables outside the teaching of Jesus, so I learned something new, as I expect others did in our groups.
The next meeting of the Forum will be at 8.00pm on Thursday 10 October, when we will be discussing ‘Welcoming the Stranger’ which should be interesting. The venue is yet to be announced.