Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Building on the rock

‘God who becomes one of us precisely to put religion to death...’ [Waiting is]

You know, I feel the idea, but can’t grasp it logically, put it into words. For myself, and more, for sharing/witnessing for others when the time comes. Can you describe the difference between the religion of Christianity and what Christ actually created and wanted us to be? Again, I feel it, but can't formulate my thoughts, put it into words.

It is perhaps too simple to be put into words.

Religion is an attitude of fear of God (not awe, but real fear) coupled with an anxiety to propitiate Him, to buy Him off, so that we can have time to ourselves, so that we can think our thoughts when we’re on our time. We hope He will be satisfied with the moments we give Him, but we’re never sure, and so we stress over it in various ways.

Another kind of religion begins as I have described, but eventually devolves into a pious fraud, when we find out (or think that we’ve found out) that God, if He really is there, couldn’t care less about us and what we do, but we continue going through the motions for a variety of reasons, some of them still related to a kind of anxiety, only this time, fear lest we be thought irreverent by others.

Both of these kinds of religion, as I have written elsewhere, ‘end at the feet of Christ.’

How Christ intends us to be, or rather, what He calls us into, is above all else a close, personal relationship with Himself, mediated through the events and thoughts with which He fills our lives.

Of course we don’t see Him physically, but we can read His acts and His words both in His little book, the Bible, and His big book, the world around us. When we understand this, and then begin to do and say the same things we see Him doing and hear Him saying, we are ‘building on the rock’ not on sand, lives that are infused with paradise even now, both in ourselves and in those around us.

Like the apostles, we no longer think we can earn heaven or salvation as did the righteous among the Jews. That was the basis of their religion.

Instead, learning to live in close friendship and discipleship with Jesus our Lord, Master, Savior and God, and following Him, we begin to get used to heaven, we start forming the kind of spiritual lungs to breathe the air of paradise, and the musculature to climb the mountains of God. Yes, we begin to get used to heaven by imitating it here, by living the life of heaven on earth.

This is so radically different from mere religion and so much better, that we forget all about religion even while we continue to practice it. What we do in church or about it may not look any different from what the religious do and look like, at least within the context of ‘church,’ but not only there, but everywhere we find ourselves, we radiate the gospel, the good news—

Christ risen from the dead,
Christ within us and in our midst,
among us and for us, over, under, around and through us,
Christ the tie that binds us to the Father
and in that binding soothing all our sores
and healing our every sickness.

Ours and, through our witness, everyone else’s, without exception, not limited to or divided from any human being, regardless of what they think or believe or even do. To do as Christ commands, to ‘be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect,’ this is no more religion than is Christ’s raising of Lazarus, or His giving sight to the man born blind, or His forgiveness of adulterers and thieves, or His dying tortured, rejected and alone on the Cross.

He tells us, ‘You will do even greater things than I have done, because I am going to the Father.’

These ‘greater things’ He gives us to do—for it is indeed He who gives us them, not we ourselves—cannot possibly be what we see in Christian ‘religion,’ and yet we find that precisely those who have, like Peter and the holy apostles, been given ‘the keys of the Kingdom,’ unlike them do not unlock lives, their own or those of others, but jewel themselves, or bait or threaten others. It’s obvious that they no longer even know what they hold in their hands. The good news is for them ‘a lesson memorised’ and no news at all.

Yes, religion dies at the feet of Christ.
But if you must be religious,
just follow Jesus and do what you see Him doing.
Then you will know for sure
that the veil of the Temple is ripped open,
because you will find yourself following Him
in and out of the Holy of Holies
as He mediates between
God and man.

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