Posted by: tucsonjefe | September 2, 2006

Superstition or reality

As I was praying this morning the Lord plopped a fascinating word in my spirit: “superstition.”  I was reminded of an episode some years ago in Haiti.  As I was walking down a beach, I was accosted by several fellows with painted faces and bizarre costumes.  They were chanting and shaking coconut shells containing dried chicken bones.  They danced around me until I was suddenly overcome by the impulse to laugh, which I did.  A soon as I began to laugh they stopped in their tracks, looked at each other and walked away; I suppose to look for another victim.  They were doing something they believed to be very powerful.  They wanted to scare me or influence me in some way.  They believed that face-paint and chicken bones would somehow influence the spirit realm to give them supernatural control over me.  They were wrong, and I knew it. They were crushed when their rituals were ridiculed, but they had no power to respond.  Knowledge negates superstition.  Unfortunately, we have lots of superstition in our Christianity, and we are offended and disturbed when folks in the world laugh at us.

In this last day, the modern world has relegated Christianity to the status of a refuge for the weak and ignorant.  This is largely because much of what they see in our practice seems to them to be mere superstition.  According to Webster, a superstition is a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.  It is a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary.  Surely we can all think of religious rituals from our past that qualify – perhaps we believed that sprinkling water on babies got them to heaven, or eating wafers brought salvation, or reciting memorized prayers somehow moved the Hand of God.  In an hour of history when science has explained much of the unexplainable, we must face the world with a faith that has some reality.  The thing I have that they don’t is a personal relationship with the God of the universe.  He guides me, He teaches me from His Word, He empowers me by His Spirit, He speaks to me in my innermost being.  Things that hinder the intimacy of that relationship, I call sin.  Actions that flow out of that relationship, I call faith.  The changes in my character imparted by that relationship I call love. That is not superstition, it is my great reality.

Scripture Reading:             1Jo 1:3  We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.

Somebody Said:             The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.
            — Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, section 191

It is time to separate the true from the illusory, the fact from the fiction, the reality from the fantasy, the supernatural from the superstitious.  Those things in my faith that are, in fact, superstitions have to be discarded.  In order to be credible, our faith must be real: substance not pretense.

vls

 

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Responses

  1. Being raised a Catholic and attending parochial school I can certainly relate to superstition. Still live with it with my 90 year old mother. One day she seems to understand Jesus is the only way to the Father and in next breath that she has to pray to Mary to intercede for her to Jesus. This is not because of her age but due to superstition and fear instilled by believing that the Catholic church is the way. I remember my Father when he was dying asking “what is going to happen” and my mother and the priest just kept telling him to say his rosary. I think that was when I really started searching seriously — as I was a very superstitious Catholic at that time. Praise God for his mercy.


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