Religion is such a beautiful and powerful reality that finds e ores skins in all cultures and at all times. There is something within the human spirit that naturally yearns for religious expression, a deep, abiding sense that there is more in the world than meets the eye. It’s not so much WHAT is the world, humanity, and creation (science) but the WHY of existence. What is our, your, my purpose in life and WHO or WHAT is behind it? Beauty, transcendence, goodness and truth are the rich ingredients of religion.
I was walking in the wind, a powerful wind, a few days ago. It was so hard to walk, let alone ride a bike. Many bike riders had to stop and rest from the force of the gusts of wind coming at us mere human beings like an unseen, unphysical wall. I loved it for my Spirit soared within, I was moved and inspired by nature. God became viscerally present to me and I just looked up and out and said nothing, no words, no prayers, just a heartfelt feeling of gratitude. It was a moment of true, deep prayer.
Religion at its best “catches the wind” of the spirit and responds by creating rituals that express truth and beauty. Jesus didn’t come to create a religion, but the Kingdom, and the religion that emerged, Christianity, Catholicsm, is at the service of this Kingdom. We NEED religion, which beautifully brings together the that which we can see physically with our eyes, and that which only the eyes of the heart can see. Religion brings together body and soul, heaven and earth.
Religion by SOME of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time turned religion into an experience of simply following the Law and its letter.” Why are your disciples eating on the sabbath?,” they asked Jesus. Because they were hungry!!!! How ingenious of Jesus. He then points out examples in the scriptures so loved by these Pharisees that showed exceptions to following the Law, done by David, no less!!!!!!
When religion goes bad, it is horrible. Why? Because it creates a way of living that points the finger of judgement on those transgressing the Law, it creates an atmosphere of superiority by those who follow the Law, to its miniscule letter. When religion divides the world between the insiders and the outsiders, between those included and those excluded, between those going to heaven and those confined to hell... it becomes an evil force. Jesus will have none of this. Neither must we...
Let the wind of the Spirit purify our beautiful religion!!
Happy Labor Day!!!