April 14, 2009

1. Craving

Psalm 63:1

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

When I look down into myself, I see that the bottom of the well is continuously in need of refilling. I’m tired, thirsty, empty—and I need contact with the real thing.

The routines of religion buy me nothing if they don’t connect me with the source of relief. God does not need me to do religious things; the need actually goes the other way. I need contact with the living, refilling God (source of all life) or my soul will dry up and die.

Religious observances exist to help me get that contact. As soon as the symbols and practices of faith leave us empty, we have to extend them, reinterpret them, deepen them, even replace them. Otherwise they are flat, like paper dolls that used to be people.

They become nothing more than a means of superstition and magical thinking—by which I mean, “If I do this, God will do that.”