DONNA’S CORNER: Losing your Religion – “Reflections of a Zealot”

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So today was S.O.S. Socks on Sunday at Missiongathering – Christian Church and you all didn’t disappoint. Lots of socks were piled up under the communion table. Wahoo! And didn’t the band sound great? Another awesome day of singing praises to God! Interestingly enough, on the Sunday after Easter, when the chairs might not be as full as last week, we started a new series called “Losing your Religion. Reflections of a Zealot.” It works.
So sit back, relax, grab a glass of whatever and here goes. I’m going to share some nuggets from my notes. For Erika’s full sermon, check out the podcast on the church website.
Easter is over and today I see a few empty chairs. Last week even the balcony was full. Some folks come to church every Sunday, some not so much. What place does religion play in your life?
Back in the day and even today, a lot of harm and even deaths have come about in the name of Religion. Lots of painful stuff as even churches try to decide who is “in” and who is “out”. So, the idea of “Losing our Religion” is not so far-fetched.
How can we remain comfortable when we see people who are supposed to represent God abusing religious passages and using self-serving prayers? When they think that it is all about them and their kingdom, rather than about God and God’s Kingdom. And when they have those “bottom of the ninth” situations and they are praying to God to help their team win.
When the rubber hits the road, is there a God who knows me and my pain? Who is God? Why don’t we talk to God during the good times and not just the bad?
Religion isn’t going away. Our pursuit of God isn’t going away.
Perhaps we are looking for God in all the wrong things, all the wrong places like associating God with things God isn’t associated with. And we get frustrated and put God in a box and try to find something else and to try and live as if there isn’t a God.
Enter Saul. A man who de-converted from traditional Judaism to become a follow of Jesus. Saul was about as extreme as they come. Thinking that by killing the Christians, he was doing a good thing. Not so, and God convinced him otherwise. Enter Paul who was converted to “The Way”, following Christ and went to many places preaching the good news of Christ.
Let’s read about Paul in Acts 26:9-18a. At first he was confused by what he thought God wanted (punishing and killing people). Then on the road to Damascus, he saw a light from heaven and eventually realized that his view of God was wrong. He had looked for and found God in the wrong place.
Acts26:15-18a “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?” “’I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. … I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God…”
Sending you to ALL peoples. Verse 18b …so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
We have ALL fallen short by our own standards and God’s standards as well and we can ALL be forgiven.
God loves us. All of us and when God forgives us God wants to begin a personal relationship with us. God doesn’t want to control us, but to restore us.
That is where we will find God. Our common ground is the fact that we need God and that God loves us all.
So, is it at all possible that we could have been looking for God in all the wrong places? Is it possible that by returning to this place of needing God and knowing that God longs to be in a relationship with us that we could experience a new sense of intimacy and relationship that replaces any form of empty religion?
Is it possible?
You bet!

One thought on “DONNA’S CORNER: Losing your Religion – “Reflections of a Zealot”

  1. I haven’t seen any evidence of proselytization playing much of a role for followers of the old gods. In fact, as you pointed out, Ned even suggested that Bran could become the leader of another religion.
    I would say that the Faith of the Seven is more specifically a reflection of the Catholic Church, as opposed to Christendom as a whole. And it seems to me that Zoroastrianism is paralleled in the religion of R’hllor, as its duality is much more explicit, and both religions emphasize the importance of fire.
    I’m very interested in seeing where the story is going with the followers of the Faith in Westeros and of R’hllor in Essos because we’re seeing a dramatic increase in zealotry on both sides.

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