Summary: Our world is incurably religious and is filled with people on a spiritual search. We find it easy to talk religion, but our calling is to share our relationship with the living Christ.
We are incurably religious! Wherever you go, you will find that people are religious. We are groping for something we never quite find.
Ride with me up and down Sixteenth Street, here in the city, or out New Hampshire Avenue, past Colesville. The architecture is ample proof that people are incurably religious. Temples, churches, and mosques; Asian, European, and African; speaking Greek, Russian, Syrian, Serbo-Croatian, Arabic, Khmer; accenting their English a dozen different ways. From all over the world there is evidence that people are incurably religious. We are groping for something we never quite find.
Tune in to the TV set with me. One channel offers everything from Gregorian chants to faith healers to political activists. Switch over to Nifty Fifty and watch Dionne Warwick peddle her psychic hot-line. Try a little farther around the dial, and the home shopping channel is pushing new age crystals. Do you agree with me? We are incurably religious.
Wherever you go, people are religious. We are groping for something we never quite find.
I need not mention the bookstores, where it is not only the Bible which is a hot seller, but also self-help books, books about angels, books about life after death, speculation and guesswork galore. And all of it surrounded by a glittering array of goods, from Jesus T-shirts to Holy Spirit bumper stickers to "God is the greatest" buttons for your lapel. Don’t tell me we aren’t a religious people. We are.
But we are groping for something we have not yet found. And we will look almost anywhere, trying to find God. A number of years ago there was a man who was, during his lifetime, both adored and hated, both imitated and feared. He died much too early, a tragic death, and was laid to rest by his followers. They loved him, they cherished his memory, and before long some of them spread the word that he had come back to life. And to this day, because they truly believe that he lives, they worship him.
Do you know who I’m talking about? I’m speaking about Jesus Christ, right? I’m talking about the one whose life and death and resurrection we celebrate, Jesus, right? Jesus Christ? Wrong! Not! No, I’m talking about Elvis. As in Presley. Believe it or not, there are at least 200 people who belong now to something called the First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine. They make annual pilgrimages to Graceland, they sell Elvis T-shirts and publish the New Testament of Elvis. They speak of the day, not far off, when Elvis will return in his pink Cadillac and reward his followers!
Oh, I tell you, we are an incurably religious people. Wherever you go, we keep on groping after God. And never quite find Him.
One of the reasons we never quite find God is that He is ultimate mystery. God is beyond our understanding. Every time we attempt to capture Him in our words, we fail. Every time we think we have packaged God in our ideas, we find that something doesn’t work.
Just think of a few of the puzzles you and I deal with:
· Is God one or three? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One in three, three in one. What exactly does that mean and how can anybody explain it? Mystery.