Having been away for several weekends, I was happy to be back this week for the Easter sunrise service at my church, to be surrounded by the Bible as quoted in the readings, the liturgy, and the sermon. Thanks be to God for the grace that has not only saved us, as we celebrate so specially on Easter, but has also nourished us!
Afterward, I proceeded to a Buddhist service.
It wasn’t insurance, it wasn’t moonlighting and it wasn’t shopping around for a new faith, but instead was done out of respect for my father in law who had been Buddhist and who had died. I don’t believe I discredited my faith in any way by being in that world, because I am not of that world.
It was, in a very non-Buddhist way, enlightening. The first two hours were spent in two things; one was honoring a bunch of different Buddhas, something I didn’t understand, but the other was spent in chanting the Buddhist scriptures, telling the stories and teaching of the Buddha. Think of it – probably an hour of temple time spent repeating the stories of the scriptures! And after lunch, they were going to go back and recite the remaining two thirds of the selection! What dedication! I wasn’t so dedicated, and left after lunch.
I contrast a temple that would spend three hours on a Sunday reading through the Buddhist scriptures with a church I attended recently where the only reading was an epistle, and that taken from a rather cheesy paraphrase! Think of it – a “contemporary” (*non-Biblical) confession that never once mentioned sin, no Psalm, no Old Testament reading, no Gospel, and a statement of faith which mentioned Jesus in passing but was really an advertisement for social action. Which will adhere most closely to its faith – the Temple which lives with its scriptures or the Church which finds its scriptures unworthy?
The word of God is our sole authority on what we believe and how we live. It anchors us to God, and without it we drift away. Read it. Listen to it. Think about it incessantly. Be a fanatic. Build your life around it. Build your church around it.
Don’t be outdone by the Heathen.