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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Idea of Religion

by Paul Hettinga

I like the idea of religion, of believing that there is a God and that this God was revealed to us in the life of Jesus. I further like the idea of church, of being in the community of those who want to believe, want to live as if it’s all true and who want to be conformed to the image of Jesus in and through our lives. More days than not, I lean into this faith and it gives me a sense of joy, comfort and purpose.

But then there are other days when I wake up from this hope and I wonder, how can any of this possibly be true? Is Jesus, God? And is he the full and total reflection of both who God is and all that he is? Isn’t there a kind of arrogance in all of this – us Christians thinking, believing and acting as if we ‘know’ God, that he is ‘Our God’?

If I let my mind wander on this path for long, a sense of dread and depression starts coming into my mind, my heart – my soul. Imagining my life without this belief that Jesus is real leaves me feeling abandoned and alone and, for the most part without much purpose to my life.

So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" 68Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.69"We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."… John 6:67-69 NIV

And like Peter my answer is, but Lord, to whom else can I go – your words have the authority of life, God and eternity. Indeed, where else can I go to find the ring of authentic living – of having a life call or purpose that is big enough to capture my mind, my heart, my soul and my talents, but small enough to be attainable and real, allowing me to become more fully me – the way God imagines me to be.

Fortunately, God’s steadfast love continues to reach out to us drawing us into his love and into his quiet but certain call on our lives. Leaning back into that gentle call, even in the light of our own doubts gives meaning and purpose to our lives and unites us with God and his community of fellow ‘leaners’. Thanks be to God for his steady love that reaches out and gently draws us in.

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