In many world religions… you have to perform before you are accepted.
Performance varies from religion to religion, but some of the most popular performance criteria are: achieving an advanced state of awareness (through prayer or meditation), demonstrated rejection of worldly things (everything from technology to pop culture), a proven moral track record (standing on ethics and principles even when there is great personal cost), to name just three.
And while these ‘markers’ of spiritual commitment are respectable… they are NOT prerequisites to the Christian faith… and probably one of the reasons the Christian faith has enjoyed such large numbers and great acceptance over the centuries. This is because, in the Christian faith, we are CALLED first… and transformed en route:
Jesus said to his followers as he was preparing to ascend into heaven: “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
The people he said this too were just like you and me… imperfect, and needing to grow in faith. The people he said this to were ‘works in progress’ that would be completed by God’s initiative (in the Holy Spirit).
In many world religions… staring at the sky through perfect meditation, prayer, rejection of the world, or morals and ethics… is a sign of one’s successful initiation into the spiritual life. In the Christian faith, God takes the first step with us… by giving us the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
As imperfect as we are… God is calling us right now. Are we listening?