Courage. (To Be Religious)

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As I prepare for Palm Sunday, and then my Holy Week journey, I think of those ancient people who greeted Jesus along the roadside, crying out Hosanna and enthusiastically waving palm branches.

It strikes me that being religious requires courage. The kind of courage / heart that gets you out of the house, out of yourself, that moves you toward ritual and liturgy, communion and fellowship with others.

To say you believe in God, that you value faith and religion and community, to show up at a church or temple at the beginning of the 21st century, has become an act of protest. Protest against the secularism of our day. The rampant consumerism of our time. It’s a protest against the vulgarization of life.

This is only an invitation . . . but if you could find your way to a church this Sunday, and maybe a service or two during Holy Week, and then culminate your week on Easter Sunday, you might find what many of us find, namely, that to be religious is like taking a deep breath. And Taking a Breath is everything.

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  1. I live in a small town in south Mississippi where I moved to from New Orleans about 17 years ago. Many people are outwardly religious and also do their best to practice what they preach. It took a few years for me to be comfortable with them.
    My eyes have witnessed so many loving acts, acts that took bravery, love of others, and years of hard work, that I have been sold. It is very inspirational to see a friend build a retirement house on her property for her mother who has hurt her so much in life. She had gotten past her own hurt in order to do what she considered the right thing for her mother. This same lady has reached out to others in her life, offering shelter and care. I also have a friend who has supported and raised her grandson, despite his many problems, and brought him to the point where he is now a self sufficient man in his 30’s. One of my friends is very religious and working hard to do God’s will in her life. The other is a retired nurse who has reached out to so many troubled individuals, sometimes being their only friend. These are only two of the many people in town, working for the good of others in their lives. It gives me goosebumps to think of them. And they are the very people who have helped me find a new church, after so many years of alienation from my own church. I have found inspiration in religious people and want to be one of them.

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