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Windows into the Light by Michael Sullivan

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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Sunday, March 15

Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
—John 2: 14-15

Almost all of us, from time to time, are Christian consumers; we substitute products and services for the depth of spiritual practice necessary to our life in Christ. Department stores, grocery chains, on-line retailers, and even clothing stores carry an assortment of faith enhancers, as if faith were a dish-washing detergent, brand of coffee, or cotton shirt.

Our desire for God is addressed with a retail assortment of faith prescriptions. And like the latest 10-minute workout promising you an incredible body, these products aim to give us a fulfilling, satisfying, and inspiring faith with very little effort.

It just isn’t true. There is no way to have a journey with God without hard work. There are days when we do not believe. And on those days, possibly we’re not supposed to. Instead of taking a consumer's approach, we need to live with the difficulty of faith and to let others know that the life of Christ is not a recipe for trouble-free spirituality.

In days when we are joyful and our faith seems triumphant, we are to celebrate. But the joyous days are not the goal of the Christian life. The Christian faith goes to the depths and the heights of who we are in the hopes that each of us will find the pathway between—that place of journey where God walks with us despite all that happens in life.

It’s time for the church to become a place of truth-telling. It’s time for us to welcome Jesus back and to allow him to turn the tables over, watching the false tricks and products we have substituted for faith fall to the temple floor.

It’s time for us to be honest, and to allow lives of authenticity and integrity to return to us. We must reclaim the central pathway—the difficult pathway of prayer, discipline, and devotion practiced both in times when we feel like it and in times when we don’t. We’ve got to be honest, and until we allow God to clean away all the junk littering our spiritual lives, the road will not emerge.

So this Lent, let your journey among the heights and depths allow you to re-discover the pathway between the hills and the valleys. Identify those things that interfere with your faith and return to a place of integrity, where religious products are not needed and simple devotion is.

Loving God, take away all the things that keep me from open and honest communication with you, and ridding myself of all those quick fixes, help me to return to the spiritual journey you claim for me each day. Amen.