I was travelling around in my car recently listening to Jewish music. It was faith-based music, most of it quoting the Jewish scriptures, what we call the Old Testament. The singing was in English, Hebrew and Yiddish.
As I listened to the lyrics, often sang with deep feeling, I was deeply touched.
We are the heirs of the Jewish faith-experience for about four-thousand years ago. We are children of Abraham.
Pope John Paul II called the Jews our old brothers and sisters.
As I listened to the Old Testament lyrics, there was a moment of insight that sat right with me. This was not completely new knowledge, but new insights.
The authors of the Old Testament wrote from within their world view. Some aspects of that world view are very different from ours.
However, their religious experience of God certainly resonates with ours.
It is that religious experience which spoke to me as I was listening to the music. It was the language of love.
It was a genuine religious experience passed on over the centuries that resonated within, and I felt deeply moved.
Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom, truth, and knowledge. It is certainly a discipline that I have a respect for. The ability of the human intellect to probe and search for meaning is great.
However, cognitive knowledge is only part of the story. There is a gut level of knowledge and connection. A mother looking at the eyes of her baby; lovers looking at each other; connection with nature, etc. The many forms of the arts connect us with transcendence, as does beauty and music.
The language of philosophy is limited when it tries to describe the feelings between human lovers, the experience of beauty and other experiences.
These are not contradictory realities. They are rather complimentary.
In this time of Christmas, we know that the hopes and aspirations of the Jewish people of God find a special fulfilment in Jesus.
He brings an evolving understanding of God and reality to a fullness.
Indeed, it is a never-ending story.