Religion of Salvation or of Wonder?…

If our religion is based on salvation, our chief emotions will be fear and trembling. If our religion is based on wonder, our chief emotion will be gratitude. Carl Jung

Meditation: If we begin our thinking with the idea that “we are all sinners” and need salvation, we will probably be good Lutherans or Baptists, and intellectually the sentence has some truth in it. However, if we start out by staring first at our own faults, shortcomings and sins, we humans often begin to emotionally doubt God’s power (also often called “salvation”). Staring at our sins we doubt if “salvation” is true, real or strong enough to counteract them and fear sets in. If on the other hand we allow ourselves to be touched by the wonder filled stories of Jesus and his love expressed towards humanity, we become relieved and freed from staring at ourselves and our sins. As we hear how Jesus healed people, how he fed those who were hungry, how he forgave some burdened people, though they had not even asked him to be forgiven, we feel touched by an image of love that is unconditional. As we dare believing that these stories reflect the love that God has for us, we will begin walking upright and unafraid. We will stand relieved by feeling deep gratitude. And thus the shadow side of religion that is based on fear and despair is turned towards the light. The experience of wonder and gratitude brings us inner peace, while we remain the loved sinners we are.

Prayer: God of Wonder, we thank you that as we allow ourselves to be touched by the healing presence of Jesus, we can experience freedom from intellectual and theological doubt or fear. Thank You for gratitude that heals all despair. Thank You for unconditional love that overcomes the shadow of fear that religion often casts. Help us not to stare at ourselves in doubt, but let us focus on You and marvel at Your love for us every day, over and over again. And we are grateful. Amen

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34