Awe—not belief—is the first, deepest, and most enduring response to the Ineffable One whose presence is intimated in and alluded to by the mystery and grandeur of creation. Imagine how many wars in the history of humanity would not have been deemed necessary or waged or fought or legitimated if wonder, delight, awe, and radical amazement were universally understood as emblematic of authentic religion and spirituality. When two awe-filled people meet in the presence of the other who they recognize as the imago Dei, they don’t end up arguing whose experience of awe or radical amazement is better or bigger or irrefutably right. They don’t end up killing one another because they are certain—always certain—their wonder and delight are inerrant and true while the awe and reverence of the other—who now has gone from being an image of God to being an enemy—are false, wrong, and make them an abomination deserving of death. Too many “believers” allow their beliefs to justify them drawing lines in the sand—we’re in, you’re out, we’re right, you’re wrong, we’re saved, you’re damned—while those cultivating and practicing lives of awe are busy taking delight with their children or grandchildren.
Adapted from Dan Miller
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.
Is your belief founded in awe of God’s presence in others and in creation? Does rigid belief and drawing “lines in the sand” weaken your compassion and separate you from seeing others clearly? Where do you see rigid religious attitudes creating conflict and exclusions that are not in accord with either the concept of a loving God or reflective of the gospel of Jesus? Assess yourself honestly.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples. “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them, Everything they do is done for men to see.
Faith makes us open to the quiet presence of God at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation.
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.
Until we learn to love others as ourselves, it’s difficult to blame broken people who desperately try to affirm themselves when no one else will.
Beware the religion that turns you against another one. It’s unlikely that it’s really religion at all.
The true way and the sure way to friendship is through humility-being open to each other, accepting each other just as we are, knowing each other.
The fact that you offer a warm smile to someone else shows other people that you are approachable, friendly and receptive.
Keeping an open Heart is keeping an open mind.
Alex A. Lluch