Royal Patron HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO


Many will look to those preaching on Awareness Sunday for an understanding from the Bible for having respect for those of other faiths and traditions. It is not acceptable to see those from other faith traditions as merely ‘targets’ for the Christian message. It is necessary to follow the example of Jesus with the Samaritan woman, or Paul in Athens at the Areopagus, and to engage in dialogue with respect for the beliefs of others. In our time and culture, relationship is everything: we must nurture relationship with those of other faiths, demonstrating our genuine love, while not compromising the integrity of our message or shying away from telling our own story of how we have discovered faith in Jesus. The first parable Jesus told was that of the sower, who sowed seed without regard to the soil on which it landed. Awareness Sunday is a moment of reflection on our common humanity, our common search for truth and the need for strong Christian conviction rooted in our love for all mankind.

Here are several passages you could use to illustrate this:

Luke 10: the parable of the good Samaritan. Samaria and Samaritans were despised by Jesus’ Jewish disciples. Jesus teaches that practical love for ‘others’ is paramount in attesting to authentic love for God.

John 4: Jesus engages with a Samaritan woman, defying the cultural norms of His day. Samaria was the ‘religious other’, despised by Jews and avoided if possible. Jesus extends his stay and sees many from Samaria come to faith in Him, overcoming their own instinctive prejudice.

Acts 2: God is not afraid of Arabic! ‘Every nation’ was gathered in Jerusalem – this was the chosen moment for the outpouring of God’s Spirit on ‘all people’. The favour of all the people followed (Acts 2:47)

Acts 17: Paul in Athens: uses Greek gods as the starting point for identifying the truth about creation, the futility of man-made gods, the rising from death of Jesus as God’s validating of His message.