Sunday, August 03, 2014

Religious experience: Rethinking how our lives touch others

If religious experience can be reproduced, that has implications for how we live. Some few of us may be great artists who could communicate a religious experience in that way, but I think the greatest of spiritual gifts may be the most common, and most under-valued. Consider that some of the most poignant of timeless moments can be conversations, times when peoples' lives meet in profound ways, when people recognize themselves in each other. Or they can be simple moments of kindness that leave us changed. True fellowship is a profound experience.

We are each involved somehow in creating a measure of the holy somewhere in this world, for ourselves, for our families, for our neighbors. When we think of following in Christ's footsteps, we see the way he touched other peoples' lives. I think that, in some ways, our challenge in this world is more than simply having a religious experience, even of the quiet and everyday type. Our quest is not merely to acquire religious experience as religious consumers in the world. From what I can tell from reading the gospels, many people acted as though being with Jesus was itself a religious experience. I think the challenge is to be that unfailing warmth and trustworthiness, so that our homes and our lives become other peoples' profound moments of fellowship. The greatest gift one person can give another is love. It transforms not only the giver but the receiver as well. There is something about being loved that lifts us up and reflects worth and dignity. There is something about being loved that gives us strength and hope. That is what God does for us, what God does for the world. This is what he calls us to do for each other. When our fleeting "peak experiences" have gone, this is what makes the lasting substance of our lives.


Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for those practical thoughts.

Kevin Knox said...

> When our fleeting "peak experiences" have gone, this is what makes the lasting substance of our lives.


And this answers every question. I believe this is also the lasting substance of eternity (when Jesus says we'll have treasure in heaven.)

The other questions may still have to be asked, of course, but not tonight. It's been a long one. :-)