Ol' Time Religion...
"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." ~ Matthew 11:28-30
Hello and happy Monday, beautiful people!
For those in the States, I hope you're enjoying a relaxing and well-honored Memorial Day.
Today, I'd like to talk for a moment about the word religion.
In the last decade +/-, I feel as though I've watched the word fall out of fashion and sometimes even be vilified.
I certainly find myself defaulting to the word faith instead. "I am a person of faith," for example, as opposed to being a "religious person."
While I believe one of the things that would help us in this world today would be a willingness to not be such sticklers over language, to have greater grace with each other, especially when a shared lexicon is something that is challenge to find; I also believe language is important.
I have heard people refer to religion as chains, as a prison, and they use the etymology of the word to back up their ideology, to justify casting the word religion as some dark, foreboding shadow, as something to be avoided.
The origins of the word can indeed be brought back to the word bondage and obligation.
People who vilify religion on this basis preach that faith is about relationship, not religion.
If you read The Book, it's clear time and time again that God is after our hearts, so I don't think relationship being paramount has ever been in question. I also do not believe the two things are mutually exclusive. In fact, I would suggest that they are a potent pair.
Here's the question I would ask...
Bondage to what?
To me, it's like a holy handfasting, a spiritual vow between me and my Savior.
When we think of the above excerpt from Matthew 11, we are reminded that His yoke is light.
Are we aware anymore of what a yoke is?
It's quite the contraption that rests over the shoulders of two beasts of burden, anchoring them together, so that they may work in tandem on the task at hand, so that they are easily able to walk in step with one another.
So, do I want to be yoked to the Savior?
Do I want to be chained to the purposes and promises of Creator of the Universe?
Give me that ol' time religion, my friends.
It's a powerful choice, to choose to be bound to Him, to be yoked to Him. I know that when I am, whatever His plans to use and prosper me are far greater than anything I could ask or imagine.
I choose to be bound to Him.
I choose His Word and His Way.
I choose obedience, surrender, and trust... whenever I can manage to get out of my own way.
What do you choose?
Perhaps there is an irony to it.
It is in yoking, in binding, in bondage, that we find our greatest freedom and peace.
It is there that we glimpse the intricacies of eternity and the depths of unconditional love and mercy and grace and forgiveness.
Do I pursue piety, devotion, respect for the sacred, holiness, and a sense of right along with moral obligation?
So, do I want a "return to bondage," as I have sometimes heard the word religion defined?
You can bet your bottom dollar.
Gimme that Ol' Time Religion, friend. Bring it on. Because, yes, I want to know the full measure of who He is. I want to draw nearer and know greater faith day by day, until I am wholly His own.
And you? Do you choose His gracious yoke?
If you're here, I'm betting the answer is yes.
May we each wear it well, may we co-labor well, may we one day come into His presence and hear the words, "well done."
We are so grateful that Your mercies are new each morning.
With each sunset and sunrise, thank You for helping us to claim our Savior over each moment of the day and night.
Thank You for helping us to receive the promise of a light burden.
Thank You that You are You and You have chosen to walk with us, to allow us to be part of Your story.
Thank You for grace and mercy and forgiveness and freedom and joy and peace, this day and always.
In the Holy name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit we pray,
"He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" ~ Micah 6:8
"And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God by walking in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul..." ~ Deuteronomy 10:12
"Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." ~ James 1:27
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥ Amen!
(I generally work very hard to ensure that I only ever use official videos posted by the source that owns the rights. May whoever owns the rights forgive me, this was too good to pass up.)
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