[Rector]

Cargo cult

 

She was quite a pretty young girl. There she was standing on the corner handing out a small leaflet called "You Gotta Be A Baby". It went like this:

Salvation is simple! All you have to do is receive Jesus, God's son, as your saviour by asking him into your heart. You can do it right now, if you want God's answer to all of your problems and his love and happiness to fill your heart and life with joy unspeakable and full of glory and with a new plan and purpose in living! He'll meet all your needs and solve all your problems! He's just that wonderful, and it's all just that simple! Why not try him?

That's quite an amazing message, and in substance it is the Christian message. To reach out to Jesus is to find peace, reality, truth, life..... eternity. Mind you, this asking him into our heart is a problem. What has our circulatory system got to do with Jesus? Yet the big problem with this little leaflet was the idea that once we come to know Jesus then all our problems will fade away. Have we all missed out on something?

So often we see religion as a magical good-luck charm. Sadly most World religions are into the business channeling God's power for the good of the devotees. Happiness comes by keeping the gods happy and the evil spirits at bay. In reality, Christianity is often caught up in this same "Cargo Cult" mentality. Believe in Jesus and all your troubles will fly away. Health, wealth, long life and happiness are ours if we put your trust in Jesus. It's a lie really. In fact, the opposite is so.

We can pretend that everything will be rosy because Jesus loves me. The only trouble is that as Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble". The surging forces of nature will have their way. In the face of the mighty storm, some trees stand and some fall, but in the end, all decay and return to dust. We have a momentary grip on life. In that moment we have the opportunity to search after the living God. Having found him, we have a little space in the expanse of time to be changed into his likeness. In the rough and tumble of life we can become just a little bit like Jesus and so at least be a little bit prepared for eternity. Christianity is no "Cargo Cult", that's for sure.

How does God feels when he sees us overwhelmed by the troubles of life? You know, if he doesn't cry along with us then we wouldn't want to know him would we? But then, of course he cries. He mourns over our broken world. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles."