“God is love, and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them”, from the moment this powerful biblical quote was spoken to open the royal wedding ceremony of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle, I was struck by an undercurrent message acknowledging us all to be equals, brothers and sisters, regardless of race or nationality, with love being the only criteria earning us honour. This invitation to look beyond humanities historical social boundaries was unsaid, but to me, it was acknowledged, in the words marking the “power of love”, perhaps, the power of love to unite people across all social barriers. When mixed-race becomes the stuff of royal fairytales, this marriage may provide a spring of courage and a spark of renewal for interracial or multi-cultural couples across the world. This sentiment of love being the foremost consideration, was echoed by all the speakers of the historic wedding.
“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.”
Rev. Michael Curry
Besides Britain’s elite giving a royal nod to a beautiful mixed race couple, it was touching to see the throngs of British citizens celebrating the event with as much fervour and zeal as they would have any historically typical royal wedding.
All weddings leave a tear in my eye and love in my heart, but this union left me with hope, hope for the entire world, hope that the power of love is set to break cultural barriers that society has long placed upon us, hope that love will triumph and humanity will hold hands in trust someday soon.
By Natasha Subbiah
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I recently had the pleasure of chatting to two dear friends who are in a loving and happy relationship despite the fact that they are from two different cultural backgrounds albeit within the same religion. This fortunate encounter reminded me that it is not just inter-religious relationships that cross boundaries, test limits and set new standards for this world, but that there are all types of people building bridges of love across all our social boundaries all around the world. It was also a reminder to me of how these kinds of relationships can teach people that associate with these pioneering couples, be it friends, family or colleagues, how love can and does transcend social and cultural groupings and that destroying these “mind-made” boundaries can and does bring more love and joy into our lives.
There may be trepidation over differences and stress over social acceptance; but it is clear to recognise the opportunity these relationships present to the couple and to those who are in contact with the couple, to learn how to love more openly, to practice reducing your ego, to experience and enjoy the diversity that God has created in this glorious planet and hopefully, to discover that different is not that different at all.
If you have found yourself in a committed relationship with somebody who is not from the same country, culture, language, race, religion or ethnicity as you, and you are worried about upsetting the “normal” in your family or friend circle, remind yourself of the opportunity you are presenting to the people you love, for spiritual growth through learning to love more expansively. Think further to the children that the two of you may produce that will not learn these boundaries from the start and will get to experience love without the fear society impresses on us. Understand the value of your position as an example to others of how the world should operate, that is, loving all without the obsession over differences in nationality, race, culture, religion or differences in sexual orientation.
Let us value each other for the souls within each of us and let us live with the hope that others will have the courage to do the same through our loving example.
By Natasha Subbiah
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I started my interfaith journey 11 years ago when I fell in love with my husband before realising that he belonged to a different religion than me. Having been brought up in a home which encouraged respect for all religions and belonging to a spiritual organisation that teaches that “all religions are one”; I felt obligated not to see religion as an obstacle for us. My husband (boyfriend at the time) was brought up in a more conventional setting, and often felt conflicted over many aspects of our future and thus began our journey of growth. Five years into our marriage and with 2 kids in our arms, we can proudly say that we have peace, love and happiness in our lives together. We still maintain our respective religions and we don’t agree on everything in each other’s philosophy books and sermons; but (and it’s a big but), we do agree on most things, especially the values that we ascribe to in our personal, professional and parenting lives.
In my life of 30 years I have seen many people give up on love because of the complexity of an interfaith relationship. I hope to provide the world with an example that interfaith marriages can work, and that not only can it work but it can work well. You can be your happiest self in an interfaith relationship. Like all relationships, interfaith relationships too take love, understanding, empathy, sensitivity, respect, amongst other values; to make it flourish. Although our interfaith family project is still a work in progress, I am here to give you a window into my life so that maybe you can benefit from it in some way. It is a very personal story to share with the world, but I am going to try to be completely honest whilst being sensitive to the people around me.
I have also included help for those on a compassionate eating journey as I am. I believe that the topic of compassionate eating, alongside that of propagating love between religions, races, cultures and nations, can usher in a new era of peace and love and create a healthy environment for us all.
Please feel free to drop me comments and questions.