Rituals and practiced prayers work to pull us farther from God rather than bringing us closer to him. The joy of salvation, while folly to some, is born out of despair. The word salvation has been drained of the transforming, real-world meaning that it held before it bacame a more common mass-culture punch line.
I’ll be going to mass with my wife to take part in ritual. I pray and trust that some are there who recognize all of the pomp and pagentry as merely a framework for worship of the real Messiah. The biggest disappointment for me is that such recognition is likely more the exception than the rule. There simply isn’t much evidence for me to conclude otherwise. Though, I must ask myself why it is that I should have to conclude anything about the beliefs of others when my focus should be elsewhere.
As much as the ritual of religion has deceived us about what pure Christianity is, so has the cliched tag of having been “saved.” It is, I believe, a result of people wanting to put out there the minimal admittance (mumbling “I’ve been saved,” under their breaths) just so that they can feel better about having said it out loud – barely.
This assessment, too, comes at a price with my personal life. I have to admit that, just last night, I told someone that I listen to music that has Christian lyrics because, “It is where I’m at in life now,” rather than enthusiastically grabbing the opportunity to share the history of my own undeserved, monumentous, grace-laden salvation.
My prayer must be, at this point, for God to focus my eyes on him and to let his joy flow from me without pretense. Amen.