Accept No Substitutes

You know, I noticed a strange trend this weekend…

On Friday, while preparing our hearts for the NCAA basketball tournament, many of my friends were posting all over social media about their favorite teams (my beloved Duke Blue Devils in particular).  Half of the posts sounded like prayers lifted up in the hopes of the players miraculously hearing them from across the country.  On seeing the devotion and fervor of these comments, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “You know, this kind of reminds me of religion.”

Saturday morning, I went with a group of friends to a Renaissance Fair, and sitting down at lunch with a few strangers, I overheard some odd conversation.  “Oh yes, we traveled all the way from Vermont for this.”  “Have you also been to the one in Minneapolis?  It’s a sight to behold.”  “I spent weeks making this costume just right for the event; wouldn’t want to come here underdressed!”  On hearing the dedication of these people who had travelled so far and dressed so elaborately, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “You know, this kind of reminds me of religion.”

Saturday evening, I went to my favorite Thai takeout place (Kombo Kitchen on Dale Mabry), and as I stood in line, the conversation around me was fascinating.  Avid foodies swapped stories about life-changing dishes and other restaurants they used to frequent– all of them delighted to have abandoned their old restaurants for this new and delicious cuisine.  On hearing their joy at tasting something new and wonderful, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “You know, this kind of reminds me of religion.”

Our society has no shortage of substitutes for religion.  In fact, it seems that the whole world wants to imitate what the church has.  Devotion, excitement, respect, community, pilgrimage, special attire, the joy of leaving behind the old for the new– you can find them in all sorts of environments other than the Church, but it’s only in the Church that you see them at their most complete.  It’s only in the Church that you see them in service of the only truly worthy cause: Christ.

There are all sorts of imitations of Christianity available through our culture, and it’s easy to become consumed by these, but none of them –no matter how religiously we pursue them– can ever measure up to the joy of serving Christ together.

Grace and Peace,
Tom

“These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Colossians 2:17)

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