“Boring religious people killed Jesus.”
We took the kids to a concert last night, a collection of Christian hard rock bands, organized in an effort to show these kids a different side of the faith they thought they knew backwards and forwards. One of the singers threw out the tidbit about religion that got us cheering and thinking and vowing to see beyond pews and neckties to the dirty feet and extreme love of the Christ we follow.
The music was admittedly a bit, um, intense for my listening tastes, but I’ve thought about those words a hundred times in the last 24 hours. They’re true, after all.
Religion killed Jesus.
I knew that, of course… I know that. But I know I often forget. I’m a pretty verbal advocate for faith over religion, and love over law. I have a handful of deep troubles with the church in general, and religion is at the top of that list.
But I wonder if I look at myself, right straight to the heart… how often I’ve done it, without the church’s help.
How many times have I killed the work of Christ within me, within this world, for the sake of looking religious or sounding holy? How many nails have I driven into all that is lovely and consecrated and sanctified with self-righteous words or judgmental thoughts?
And while I cheer along with the crowd for the thought, I look back on that truth and I groan because I see how easily I’ve betrayed Him, over and over in my selfish sin and missed the point entirely. How many times have I wanted to be right instead of righteous, justified instead of loving? How many times have I killed Jesus, killed love, killed righteousness, killed the witness of love with religion?
““He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”” - 1 Peter 2:24
It’s so easy to have the heart of a Pharisee, to look at others with judgment instead of love. Free me, Lord, of hypocrisy and arrogance; strip me of everything within me that isn’t motivated by your kind of love. Help me see all people through your eyes and to abandon religious motivation in favor of extravagant love.
Thankful, with Ann, today for:
313. A small treasure: Clearance-rack cookbook full of mouth-watering recipes.
315. Seeing kids, out of their comfort zones, embracing a new side of Jesus-love.
316. Wildflowers, delivered by the neighbor girl...
317. ...then, passing it on and blessing another with wildflowers from afar. Ah, technology.
318. The needed quiet that Monday brings.
319. Warm sidewalks on bare feet.
320. Sprouting veggies, in the garden.
321. Anticipation. In general and in particular.
324. Abundance. Of everything.
325. The joy of sweet release.
327. Husband's delicious cooking.