“Religion is as a finger pointing to the moon. And most people live and die believing in the finger.” This quote I have seen attributed to Buddha and also Lao Tzu. Maybe both said it, maybe neither. The sentence is still true.
Reza Aslan (author of ZEALOT: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth) put it like this, “Religion was never meant to be an end, but a means to an end.”
I think we sometimes lose sight of the fact that prophets are messengers of prophecy, not the prophecy itself. We forget that the Burning Bush, the Voice of God, did not make itself known to Moses so that Moses could see a really cool thing, but because there was a message that Moses needed to hear. Admonitions against images of Mohammad are not rules made for the sake of rules. I think, and please anyone who knows for sure feel free to correct me if I am wrong, that the reason images of the Prophet are severely constrained is so that believers will not come to worship Mohammad or rather the image of Mohammad instead of hearing and living the message. Jesus, throughout the gospel is referred to as the son of man. His life was about spreading the message, not him being praised and flattered.
Today, many of us like to praise God, and that’s fine, but we need to remember God doesn’t need our praise, we are suppose to praise and revere the holy to keep US mindful of the Way, the Truth, and the Light. We aren’t supposed to worship and testify to prove that we believe all the right things, that we are all in the right church, that we all can pat ourselves of the back and be proud and puffed up in our righteousness.
It is in humility that we come into the presence of the Sacred and its grace.
It is in reverence that we speak our testimony
It is in our imperfection, we enter into grace.
it isn’t about us or proving to others how holy we are, how right we are in our religion but about the message, about the life lived, about the work we do, about building the kingdom.
Regardless of the way you pray or in what building you worship, are you holding true to the message? Are you living the faith? Are you beholding the moon, or manicuring the finger?
Floating QuoteFrom the cowardice that dares not face new truth From the laziness that is contented with half truth From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth, Good Lord, deliver [us].