I always know I am missing the point of the Christian faith when I start to think that religious actions are the point.
Did I go to church?
Did I pray?
Did I engage in a Bible study?
Did I avoid sin?
Did I serve at the soup kitchen?
I stumbled across this thought in my journal the other day and I am uncertain if it is mine or someone else's. No matter the source, it is powerful:
"Thinking the Christian faith is about religious acts, rather than seeing those religious acts as a means to an end, is a grave error.
The only end worth its weight - in a Christian sense - is love.
If our religious acts do not lead us to becoming more radically loving people they are worth nothing."
Christ followers have always missed the point when we think the means are the end; when we act as if our religious actions are the purpose for which we exist.
I do not know how many more ways Jesus could have tried to explain this danger to his constantly confused disciples while they - like us - kept trying to make the means the end.
When we forget that love is the only point we tend toward arguments about doctrine, discussions about rules and boundaries, about who should be excluded and how we should best exclude them.
Too much of my faith is an exercise in missing the point.
I wonder if that is because missing the point is far and away easier than loving people.
And that seems to have been Jesus' main point.