Good Religion: REMEMBER

September 14, 2016

 Yesterday we began our new series “WHAT IF… we had good religion?” It's about reflection on what matters, and what are the ingredients of a "good" experience of religion. In many ways, as you heard from Pam the week before, there is an excess of bad religion… of religion that makes you barf or worse.

 

There are days when we want to say, "I am out… I will stick to my yoga mat.” (PS - I love yoga)… and not engage in any other way… I get that.

 

But here is the thing… when we do that - then I think we have given up, and "they win"… and that would sadden me, and worse - it would mean we had given in.

 

SO, the idea here is to say - ok if we DID engage and we DID experience and expand  "good religion" -  what is happening?

 

Using the letter “R” i am choosing to explore what that might look like. The first word was “REMEMBER”. To me, Remember is the grounding of this whole religion process.

 

In Judaism remembering  is an obligation to being jewish… remembering God is the liberator from the Exodus, God who liberates slavery, God who wants us to remember the sacredness of the land an all there is.

 

In Islam it is also a priority to remember the Koran, to honour by being a good listener, to life… and to enter in this relationship with Allah.

 

Adrea sang "Now Comes the Night" by Rob Thomas - reminding us we are never forgotten and we ritualized this with communion the Christian meal of remembrance.

 

Yesterday I decided to take a risk and share an old sermon from Sept 16, 2001. The sermon I preached after 9-11. I had FORGOTTEN the sermon, I had FORGOTTEN the message of others, the kids, the community, and was REMINDED that there are things to do, when tragedy happens and when we want to give up… like Noah we are called to build altars.

 

We heard that Noah got off the ark after 40 days and nights and he knelt and built an altar of gratitude. Who knows exactly why - but he saw this as a scared calling to fulfill.

 

Noah did this and then God remembered to put a bow in the sky to remind ALL that God is in covenant with us, not to do harm, but to love and journey with us in life.

 

Altars are ‘spaces and places’ and are how we live and move in the world. Our job is to build altars.

 

During the sermon I built an physical altar with river stones, and then invited us all to build alters in the world by how we live. The final song - Ancient Love - is a reminder of the love that holds as we build.

 

SO, have a listen to the sermon, and I invite you to consider your calling to STOP REMEMBER and BUILD altars. We are on our way.

 

As always, please email me with your thoughts, reflections, and ideas.

 

- John

john.pentland@hillhurstunited.com

 

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