Over at StandFirm, I read an excerpt from Bishop Skip Adams sermon on morality being a barrier to God (if you are interested in the sermon, here is the link.
This got me thinking on one of my favorite topics. Using religion to hide from God. I'm familiar with this topic because I've used religion (and still have a tendency to do so) to hide from God.
The Church can be a wonderful place where we can use our religion and our religious busy-ness to keep God at arm's length. So long as we are involved in Church - so long as we can perceive ourselves to be "good" people who love God and we can point to our religious activities as proof of our love of God, we can keep God away from interefering too much in our daily lives.
I remember when I was in high school and my early adult years. I thought being a good Christian was about being involved in Church. I was an acolyte (and had been since I was 9 years old). I was a lay reader, a chalice bearer, a Sunday School teacher, even a Lay Eucharistic Minister (now Lay Eucharistic Visitor). I felt that being a good Christian was about getting my ticket punched for different destinations - kind of like moving my "Jesus" piece around a board until I passed "Go."
I see many people who live like that in the Church. They are so busy with being religious that they don't take time for faith. Christianity is far more about a relationship with God - about participating in the perichoresis of the Holy Trinity through trusting in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ than it is about obeying the rules and saying the right formulas.
What do you get when you read all the right books and say all the right prayers and live an outwardly upright and moral life? What do you get when you are at Church every time the doors are open and you can take pride in your tithe, your participation, and your level of commitment to the Church?
You don't get a good Christian. You get a good pharisee. What does it take, then, to make a good Christian? It takes faith - trust in God and the Grace of God actualized in our lives.
So, why do we have the rules and the morality and the outward activities of the Faith?
I'll ruminate on that tomorrow (hopefully).