Kenneth L. Samuel: Religion Without the Rules

"When Gentiles who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves . . . .They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts." - Romans 2:14-15

For a long time, John Lennon's famous lines from his iconic song, "Imagine," haunted me.

         Imagine there's no heaven

         It's easy if you try

         No hell below us

         Above us only sky

         Imagine all the people

         Living for today

         Imagine there's no countries

         It isn't hard to do

         Nothing to kill or die for

         And no religion too.

A consciousness and a community without the moral safeguards and guidelines of a clearly defined religious order frightened me. Much of my fear stemmed from a deep distrust of my own basic instincts.

But as I've walked with God over time, I've actually discovered that quite a few of my basic instincts have more moral value than the rules mandated by religion. In so many instances, I've found my own visceral instincts to be more genuine and more generous than the stipulations of prescribed religious dogma.

We don't really trust God until we trust what God has placed in our hearts.

Catechisms that cater to religious protocol pale in comparison to the deep desires, delights and inquiries that God has deposited in our hearts.

There is so much heavenly treasure in broken earthen vessels.

Saint Augustine said: "Love God and do whatever you please."

Today, I only have problems with Augustine's brazen invitation when I doubt that the kindom of God is within me.


Lord, reveal yourself to us through the meditations of our hearts.

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From UCC's StillSpeaking devotionals.