Thursday after Ash Wednesday

by Rebecca Sutherland

Psalm 1
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Luke 9:18-25

AS I LIVE, by choice, in the sophisticated, educated and often jaded society that prevails in this city, friends are surprised that I maintain the spiritual beliefs that were instilled in me at an early age. What can an intelligent, thinking person gain from adhering to old stories and rituals when science provides insight into our creation, psychology explains our behavior, and popular moral standards fluctuate like the stock exchange? And yet, I still go to church.

The human heart hasn’t changed much over the course of millennia, as far as I can tell, and the lessons and advice we receive in church are every bit as relevant today as they were 100, 500 or 1,000 years ago. Whether expressed as a commandment from God to the Hebrews or as an invitation to follow Christ, the message of reward for those who are faithful to God’s laws and the ultimate suffering of those who are not is universally applicable to everyone, regardless of religious beliefs.

It doesn’t take blind faith to recognize the inherent value of Christ’s teachings; qualities like generosity, compassion and love are promoted by the religious, agnostic and atheist alike as necessary components of healthy human society. It is surely possible to exercise these qualities without believing in God or belonging to a church. But why choose a solitary path when the wisdom that sustained hundreds of generations before us can also serve as our guide too?