I ran across an illustration I’m going to use in today’s sermon. It puts in a few words, what I take to be one purpose of religion.
“Suddenly out of the night came the sound of wild geese flying. I ran to the house and breathlessly announced the excitement I felt. What is to compare with wild geese across the moon? It might have ended there except for the sight of our tame mallards on the pond. They heard the wild call they had once known. The honking out of the night sent little arrows of prompting deep into their wild yesterdays. Their wings fluttered a feeble response. The urge to fly–to take their place in the sky for which God made them– was sounding in their feathered breasts, but they never raised from the water. The matter had been settled long ago. The corn of the barnyard was too tempting! Now their desire to fly only made them uncomfortable. Temptation is always enjoyed at the price of losing the capacity for flight.” -Jim Moss.
When Buddha taught against “illusion,” and Jesus spoke against “the world,” they both were referring I think to our everyday trance. We melt into our habits and culture and lose what makes us most essentially human. Certainly, in our day, most religion has itself become a trance, but it was not always so.