Oftentimes it isn’t a question of how much trust you put in the Universe, or the Maker, or whatever noun you use here. More likely it is the case of how much trust that Creator puts in you.
I am reflecting on a comment from a friend who said this week:
“I am so tired of the awful things these crazy religious people do and say that it makes me ashamed to be a Christian.”
I find no stress in the things those people do or say as much as I do stress out in the knowledge that these people do not have a clear understanding of the “Religion“(sic) that they profess. I wonder: given that many professed Christian people today pick up half-backed drips and drabs of ideas on what they (personally) think is right, stir that with a few out-of-context Biblical quotes (you know the ones!) and add the watering down of contemporary Biblical translations written for an un-reading contemporary society, and prayers that are long, rehearsed recitations of that pray-ers personal shopping list,
How much would God – the Maker – the Universe – trust them to follow – and seek – Universal Truth?
Being a spiritual person is very easy to do. Being a religious person is very difficult. Religion is not all perfect, and in a perfect world it is a constantly-evolving thing. Just as God evolves (no more plagues… no more earth-drowning floods… no more destroying cities with fire or turning people to salt), so must we, and so must our understanding of what “religion” means outside of our own experience.
Spirituality is a single effort. Religion happens in public (in communion, if you will.) To become proficient at both, you will (spiritually) break a sweat, and then your tongue will ache from the bite marks, and your ears will ring from all the listening instead of speaking. And at that end, while you are all sweaty, numb-tongued, and ear-ringing, somewhere in there you will find the God who is looking to find you. For those who believe in Born Again, realize that this salvation moment and subsequent baptism is not the end of the party. Maybe it’s too obvious for some to see that the term Born Again means a re-birth. It means a time to begin this new journey – to listen and learn, and to develop into the person to be loved (always) and trusted (more) by God.
For those who come from a tradition of Infant Baptism: As Dorothy Allison once said to me (and made me cry!)
You. Owe. Me.
In your early months of life when you were Baptized, a lot of people stood around and made promises on raising you up as a good and faithful and well-meaning person. I have done this many times over the years in our parish and take that obligation very seriously to do whatever I can to help that child grow up to be the best person they can be.
Review your church’s Baptismal Covenant. Check to see if the people around you are holding up their part of the deal. Look inside to see if you are holding up yours. I will entertain no arguments about this being something that was done on your behalf in infancy. I will hear no arguments from the other team saying that Infant Baptism is invalid. I will make it very simple for you: if you agree with the concept as it pertains to you, then you should review, take notes on what should improve in your life, and the lives of those around you. (see “communion,” above)
If you do not believe in such things and you consider it invalid, then please feel free to shut up, stop whining about how bad your life is, and use the door out of that mindset to find your own spiritual bliss. It really is out there. Just keep in mind that the spirituality part is very easy. The religion part will make you work.
- Will your meditations and your prayers and your actions through the 40 day desert of Lent lead you to a place of knowing-more?
- Will you arrive at a point of understanding even a tiny bit more than you did before you began?
- Will these 40 days of contemplation and redemption land you even one step closer to being that person in whom God -Maker – Universe puts their almighty trust that you – at last – are seeking the better path?
So many questions, and so few days to come closer to your own answers!
- Keep the faith!
A prayer on the Trust of God, for Lent
God of Peace,
You have put your Holy Spirit
in our hearts.
Your spirit renews at every moment
your love for us.
And we wish to do
all we can
so that the trust you place in us
in love for others.