I question myself more and more as to whether God really cares about religious structures and institutions at all. Does God really care about all these humanly created laws? Does God really care about how this or that Worship Service or Liturgy is done? Does God really care about what kind of music is used? Does God really care about restricting people from access to the Table? Does God really care about not eating meat on the Fridays of Lent? Does God really care whether food is kosher or not? Does God really care about proving whether one was “actually” married or not through an annulment before getting married again? Does God really care about barring gay people from marriage, anymore than God would care about eating shrimp (which nobody listens to in the first place, even though it’s listed in the “abominations” in Leviticus – not to mention a woman being put to death who cheats on her husband, conveniently with no mention as to what is to happen to the man!). Does God really care about ANY of this?
In the end, does any of this matter? Some I have met who are into enforcing religious law are among the most judgmental, mean spirited people I have ever met. Conversely, those who have had the law inflicted upon them and internalized it live with the most abject fear of their acceptability in the eyes of God that I have seen. Indeed, isn’t it “sinful” to have instilled such fear in the hearts of these good people? What is of greater importance? Living the letter of religious law, or building people up by being a loving, self giving person?
Yesterday in my church, we heard the story of the man born blind from John’s Gospel. In the end, who was really blind? Were the blind man and Jesus the “sinners,” as accused by the upright religious folk in the story; or was it the religious folk themselves, intent on the letter of the law? I can only imagine that the spirit of evil rejoices when people get all caught up in religious law! Ironic that those who are not caught up in it, those who do not abide by it, or those who question it are the very ones called “bad.”
What’s more important in life? I believe that sometimes religious law serves only to blind us to what is really important in being a person of God.