Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Relationship, not Religion

If you look back at the biblical account of the way things were in the garden, you will notice that the interaction between God and humanity was about a relationship and not a religion. We do not see religion in the Bible until chapter 4 of Genesis, after sin has changed humanity and they no longer live in the garden. We have no indication of who came up with religion, but we can be sure that it was a human attempt to regain the relationship with, or at least a blessing from God. Anthropology and history show that humanity has been at this attempt ever since evidence has been left behind to be read and studied.

God on the other hand, has always been about relationship. He was a friend to Adam and Eve and even after they sinned He sought them out. The only use He had for religion in His plan was to show people how hopeless they were on their own and how they could never regain the relationship with God on their own. He has really been more about revealing Himself to people than keeping a record of rule keeping and breaking. God is active in history, and He is the consummate storyteller in that He doesn’t just tell stories, or even cause stories to occur. He is causing and participating in the ultimate story—the story of His universe and the people He has created.

So story more than religion, communicating more than informing, is what God’s people should be all about. The greatest command Jesus left His followers to be doing until He returns is to be storytellers and relationship builders. We are instructed to tell everyone we get to know about the story God is telling in our lives. We are to be actively working on the relationships that we have in our lives, doing our small part to bring people separated from God back into the relationship He desires to have with them.

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