Sunday, 9 September 2012

Alive and doing

The Daily Meditation (by Richard Rohr) that arrived in my inbox yesterday was worth sharing as having some relevance to today's reading and to the reminders in James that good works should arise out of faith and that faith without works is a dead faith. Rohr writes:

 It seems to me that it is a minority that ever gets the true and full Gospel. We just keep worshiping Jesus and arguing over the exact right way to do it. The amazing thing is that Jesus never once says, “worship me!”, but he often says, “follow me” (e.g., Matthew 4:19).

Christianity is a lifestyle—a way of being in the world that is simple, non-violent, shared, inclusive, and loving. We made it, however, into a formal established religion, in order to avoid the demanding lifestyle itself. One could then be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish, and vain at the highest levels of the church, and still easily believe that Jesus is “my personal Lord and Savior.” The world has no time for such silliness anymore. The suffering on Earth is too great.

Adapted from the CAC Foundation Set: Gospel Call to Compassionate action

I do see so many churches involved in good within their communities, I think this is something which the church at the grassroots often excels in. I know that there is some amazing involvement in the community in the area I live in, and this work arises out of faith and love- the royal commandment- as today's reading put it. I was interested, however, in the idea that we actually create formal, established religion in order to avoid the genuine call of Christ. That challenging idea is worth pondering. It made me think of some of the Quaker ideas about avoiding hierarchy, systems and power as far as possible in faith structures, meanwhile emphasising the need for simplicity in our own lives and practical service to the world.
Dead faith is that religiosity that is wedded to power and prestige and all that the world values - hence the reminder not to favour the wealthy within church circles. Living faith looks at life through a different lens and wants to serve others, not to further its own power base.

1 comment:

  1. I think he's really hit the nail on the head. Makes a lot of sense to me - and explains t he opposition one faces when trying to change the culture in a church from one of religious form to one of following Jesus.

    Also explains why we all take refuge in form now and again, when Jesus' call becomes too uncomfortable!

    Iffy Vicar