Tuesday, March 1

Religion - You're doing it wrong! (Paul of Tarsus, most of his letters)

What is required to be a Christian?  A Catholic?

Does one need an organ? A choir? Music at all?

Does one need incense or bells? A sacramentary? Special clothes?

Does one need a dedicated sanctuary? A dedicated celebrant?

In the days of Paul, they didn't.  Augustine didn't have most of those things either.  It is part of the Tradition which has built up over time.  That said, there was a religious organization which DID have those things back in Jesus' day....and he didn't really have a lot of good things to say about them.

Now, it's not to say that there is anything intrinsically wrong or evil about those things.  They are reasonable and decent support mechanisms to assist in the worship process.   The trouble is that the priests were consumed with these mechanisms and took their eyes off the purpose of these things - to worship and praise the Divine.  If the letter of the law is more important than its spirit, when custom and tradition act as barriers instead of bridges, we fall into the same sorts of traps that Christ rails against.  This recalls a point from yesterday about the importance of intent.  If we do good because God wishes it and we wish to please Her, then that is all and well.  If we do good because ancient texts and hoary custom demand it, then there's something fundamentally wrong, for we would be in service to texts and custom, not to Him.

For some folk, having the ornaments and trappings of a traditional Catholic mass significantly enhances their worship.  For others, it is a distraction which inhibits their capability of connecting with the Divine.  I will recall the gospel verse from a few days hence.  "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off". (Mk. 9:43).  If the choir or the sanctuary or any of these things causes you to be distracted from God, set them aside. 

Focus on loving God and doing right by your neighbour. 
Focus on the moon (or, perhaps, the Son) and not all those fingers pointing.

No comments:

Post a Comment