Monday, March 09, 2009

Fewer Believers in Fox Holes

Are there fewer believers in the world today? You better believe it. There are many reasons for this, but I suspect that the biggest reason for this trend is the fact that church services tend to be an hour long infomercial explaining to believers why they need to cough up their money and give it to the church.

Jesus tells us that we are to go out into the world and tell people the good news that all men are redeemed through his sacrifice and heaven awaits those who believe in this salvation. He also says that in the end of days, there would be no physical place called the church, that not one stone would rest upon the other. We are told that those who are left behind will have to find the church in their heart because there will be no physical building, that the kingdom of God will be the people of God, not the churches.

In the film Jeremiah Johnson, this crazy man Jeremiah encounters tells him that the hills and the forests are the cathedrals of God, that the mountains bear witness to his glory, that the prairies are the great gathering places of the angels. This is the cathedral I believe in too. Not some ugly square building. The magnificence of the sunrise, the solitude of a starry night, the choir of the winds and the thunder of God's sermon and the baptism of the rain. No sacrament is greater than the sacrament of one's own presence in the face of such beauty and power. No virgin so sweet than the unsullied stand of great cedars, no child so wondrous as a new born fawn rising up to take suck from it's mother, no saint as holy as the solitary mountain raising itself up to the glory of heaven.

If I die, I want to go to the creator of the seas and the storm, the winds and the rain, the warming sun and the "dark, sacred night". I want to go to the God that makes personal covenants with each of us when we put seeds in the soil, causes the robins to break into song, and blessed me with the love of a man who covered me in the darkness and held me close to him afterwards, under the blankets, making me feel small, warm and cherished and contented.

And this is from a woman standing at the valley of the shadow, on the edge of the jumping off place. How can you, the whole and the living, doubt the glory of God? I understand about religion. Religion is a construct, faith is your inheritance. I never asked you to believe in a religion, kneel in no chapel, partake in any sacrament, but I ask you, when you behold the glory of creation, how can you deny the presence of the Creator?