By: Rev. Dr. Shannon Rogers, DDiv, UCCA
I have searched our religious Scriptures for a “truth” that would be simple and applicable to anyone’s life. A “truth” that would affect us in a positive way, bring people together and promote peace for all humankind. After all, isn’t that what our religion should do. What I found was very obvious yet hidden at the same time. It was hidden because of the very structure of these Scriptures and hidden because it seems that it was intended to be so.
What I found was very obvious yet hidden at the same time. It was hidden because of the very structure of these Scriptures and hidden because it seems that it was intended to be so. If we seek “truth” within our religious writings, and from the
If we seek “truth” within our religious writings, and from the faith we hope to follow. We must first put aside the “unbelievable”, and reject the idea of “blind faith”. Turn away from the dogmatic theologies that have been dividing us and indoctrinating our thinking. Our faith should be more than a church we belong to, a denomination we follow, or a ritual we perform. Our faith is meant to be expressed by how we live our lives.
In order for us to find such a “truth” we must look past the myths, the miracles, the super-natural, past the unbelievable. Our faith should never be blind and it should always be based on the believable.
I like the saying that “God is the Ultimate Reality”. Thus, I believe, that is where you will find God if you are looking. And only in that reality is where you will find the guidance, the truths, to use in living your life.
When we try to live our lives, as many/most Christian denominations teach; being led by the unbelievable, by feats that defy reality and the natural world we live in. And even much that insults our intelligence. We then can and are open for manipulation and truly “social engineering”. We give up the spiritual part of who we are that is there to guide us rightly, and surrender to outside forces that guide us for other reasons. We surrender “our freewill” and replace it with the “will of others”.
We don’t live in a fantasy world, the world we live in is reality itself. So why would the faith that we practice be so awkwardly detached from that reality? The truth is, it wouldn’t be. In the past religion was used to help people deal with the unexplained and the supernatural was a part of that. But, in today’s world I have to ask, is that still the case, is that needed or necessary?
Archeology and research has found that our earliest ancestors had spiritual practices. These practices involved how they perceived and lived in the realities of the world as they knew it. Those practices were influenced by their level of knowledge at that time. It seems odd that in today’s spiritual practices we are taught to ignore our knowledge and blindly embrace the “teachings of the church”. Even when those teachings defy reality as it truly is.
The “truth” I found was there all along. All I had to do was read between the lines, look at the larger picture, seek that simple theme that ran throughout. A theme that is universal, believable and real. That one theme that could be life changing for anyone.
The theme and foundation for our lives, the future for civilization and humanity, is found in three simple words. “God is love.” And not just any love, but unconditional love. The kind of love that is life changing, life giving and unending. A love that causes those who have it to put themselves last in every case.
A love that lets us see the world in all its wonderful reality. A love that causes us to love the Lord our God, and prove it, by openly and outwardly loving all of God’s creations including all humankind. Within that love is the “Reign of God in our lives”, God’s kingdom in reality, where all peace is found and life is lived to its fullest.
This is the truth that is found within all religious teachings. The truth that is worth believing because it is real and life changing. This is a faith worth living. The only faith all humanity truly needs.
In 1-Corinthians chapter 13 we find some very good justification for today’s message. It begins by stating that without love in our life we actually have nothing. And then it describes love as it should be.
4- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5- It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6- Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7-It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
It continues to explain that love never fails and that it is childish to think otherwise.
13- And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
This is the unconditional love that we should all have, the love that God is, and surely wants for all of us as well. May you allow this message to touch you and change you. May it introduce to you a life changing love that you can embrace and apply to your life in such a way that it changes your world, and brings you joy and peace in all you do. But, most of all may your love touch others in such a way that they will love too.