Christianity was born of two parents, Judaism and religions we sometimes call “pagan.”
I believe that when people orignially heard the stories of Jesus, they must have recognized that many of those stories were coming from earlier religions. If this is true, it is likely that the first Christians would not have understood the stories to be literal or historical, but as illustrations of universal truths put into the cultural idioms of their own day.
We live at a time when faith has died for many simply because the church lacks the honesty to admit that our symbols have belonged to many religions before us, lacks the humility to admit that these symbols still belong to all humankind and lacks the courage to translate those same symbols into a form that would make sense to us today.
Our next sermon series at St. Andrew’s (beginning the Sunday after Easter) will be a trip back in time to understand earlier versions of our Christian stories, to think about how the first Christians might have heard the accounts as told in their gospel forms, and to imagine how we might understand the stories today so they might actually illumines our lives and our world.