Forgive me, brethren, but I am an anti-religious bigot.
I like to think that God is so shameless that He would rather come down to our level, be incarnated as one of us, so that He could touch us one by one, face to face, and enter into a relationship with us, rather than stay on His heavenly throne and be entertained by our religious activities.
If I feel this way, you might ask, why then do I go to church services, and when I am there, why do I kiss ikons and the gospel book, why do I make prostrations, light candles, cross myself, and do any number of other religious things? And from the way I talk, you’d have to assume that I also pray and read the bible and religious literature, and besides that, I’m always pushing Greek and Hebrew into the conversation. So how can I say that I am not a religious person?
The answer is simple. For some people, religion is what you do to come into contact with God. For others, being in contact with God is what makes you to do things that people think is religion, but ‘pure, unspoiled religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world’ (James 1:27).
This is the Bible speaking, yet people still think of religion as the externals of worship, or even worse, mere talking about God and acting ‘religious.’
It is exactly that kind of religion that I don’t believe in, that kind of religion which, if I oppose anything in this world, I oppose. All the wars of religion ever fought and all atrocities committed in the name of God are the results of making that religion mankind’s god.
What happens to you when you approach the Most High is quite different. You realize His great humility, His generous patience, in letting you touch Him and walk with Him.
He actually runs, and asks you to run along after Him, even along beside Him, but He knows you can barely walk sometimes, and so He slows His pace to keep back with you, since you’re not yet strong enough to keep up with Him. Still, He runs, and He wants you to catch up with Him, to catch Him.
You see, none of this is ‘religious talk,’ I don’t worship the ‘Holy Name of Jesus,’ I venerate His humility in allowing Himself to be circumcised as an eight day old infant. It seems more important to know for sure that He has come and pitched His tent among us, than that He is enthroned on high.
Anyone can worship a God ‘on high.’
It’s when He has come and is standing in your midst,
then, what do you do?