(June 4, 2008)

At one of the Living Rooms last night we were discussing what the word religion actually means. The topic was raised when I started talking about the book I’m reading, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. I must say I really like exploring revolutionary approaches to Christianity. Jesus called us to follow Him and Jesus was himself a revolutionary. He did not believe in staying within the confines of religion as it had been developed by the holy people of His time.

Don Miller writes: “All the wonder of God happens right above our arithmetic and formula. The more I climb outside my pat answers, the more invigorating the view, the more my heart enters into worship….for so long religion was my false gospel. But there was no magic in it, no wonder, no awe, no kingdom life burning in my chest. And when I get tempted by that same stupid Christian religion, I go back to the beginning of the Gospels and am comforted that there is something more than the emptiness of ritual….By reducing Christian spirituality to formula, we deprive our hearts of wonder.” He says, “I don’t think there is any better worship than wonder.”

I believe in the Bible and in following it and in being fed by it. It is God’s Word. But it is alive too. It has been called the Living Bible. As such we need to not try to force our worship or understanding into formulas that are too narrowly defined. How we apply God’s Word to our lives can be fresh for who we are today and the times we are living in. We need to read the Bible as the Bible speaks to us. Too often we are influenced by fixed views that have been around too long and are not valid for our times.

The important thing is: What did Christ teach us? He said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

The Bible says, “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:6)

Today – as it was in Biblical times – we need to worship and serve in the Spirit and not according to religion.

That’s just the way I’m thinking about it today. What do you think?