January 06, 2011

Lost in God?

Ecclesiastes 12

The words of the wise are … like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd.
Ecclesiastes 12:11


Eastern religion teaches that the goal of life is to lose your personal identity in the ocean of being. Now, there’s an irony. True religion is supposed to point the way home to God. But some believe that getting lost is the aim of spirituality: forget that you exist, that the world exists, that good and evil exist. Just shed these illusions and dissolve yourself in the divine ocean like a grain of salt.

Many people today want to “get high” on God, in a big crowd and with big music, in an experience as mesmerizing as the effects of a powerful drug. While true worship should never be dull or monotonous, it’s meaningless to pursue feelings of ecstasy. God calls us to be devoted to his Word and to follow the example of Jesus, taking up the cross of kingdom service. Being found in Christ is what perfects human life.

When we are found in Christ, we come to terms with his death as well as our own. Christ’s wisdom grounds us like embedded nails, helping us to make peace with our frailties even when we are young and we feel immortal. In Christ, we also find life to the fullest— with freedom from fear, shame, and soul-crushing perplexities. Life becomes a meaningful adventure, a race, a journey filled with awareness of God’s love for us all.

Don’t get lost in your religion. Get found.

As an old hymn says, “Yet I may love you too, O Lord, almighty as you are, for you have stooped to ask of me the love of my poor heart.” Amen.

About the author — Norm Prenger

Rev. Norm Prenger is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary. He pastored churches in Alberta and British Columbia before he was disabled by a heart attack and a post-operative stroke. He now lives with his wife, Gwen, near Thunder Bay, Ontario. He enjoys fishing, writing, drumming, and encouraging his fishing partners and neighbors to follow Jesus.

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