As a child, I remember one year going to a big church Easter revival. With the full choir, great music and impressive stage construction, church members did an amazing job of bringing ancient Biblical narrative to life! The live animals were impressive, even the Roman Centurions looked like modern-day bodybuilders. It’s really cool to see people express their faith through creative ways. In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to meet some extremely talented artists with the ability to express their deep faith using simple tools like a pencil and paper, and create an image that expresses the depth and truth of their faith.
Expression of faith is a wonderful, inspiring ability. I do, however, believe some people get to the point where they begin to worship their expressions of faith more than the truth they claim to believe.
I was discussing this concept with a friend of mine the other day, and he said it like this: Imagine a young lady who grew up in a really conservative church. Pretend her mother constantly put the pressure on her to wear long sleeves. After years of fighting, the young lady finally yields to her parents’ wishes and begins to feel peace in her heart. The rebellious fight in her finally calms and she feels like a new person. Even the relationship with her parents improves. Let’s pretend, years later, she has a daughter. She deeply wants her daughter to experience the peace she did, so she forces her daughter to repeat the same ritual of worship – wear long sleeves. This mother doesn’t realize her peace had nothing to do with the sleeves and had everything to do with a heart transformation that took place as a result of her willingness to honor her parents; the sleeves were just an expression of the event transpired in her heart.
Religious people do this in many different ways. Many people, if closely examined, worship their expressions more than any truth they claim to believe. There is nothing wrong with long sleeves, huge Easter productions or even an organ playing an old hymn, as long as we never forget these should be expressions of a truth that lives in our hearts.
The Bible does give rudimentary expressions we all should exhibit. Take a moment and read all of 1 Corinthians 13 and Galatians 5:22.