Many men and women who were persecuted by the ever-increasing Christian movement in the second and third centuries moved to the desert to study, pray, and live the Christian life of prayer as Jesus taught, not as Rome was demanding. In their time, the new church excluded them and, in many cases, condemned them for not following what was demanded. They left to have freedom in their beliefs and practices.
Jesus introduced a power mankind had never experienced, a power that transcended all knowledge and understanding, but it was also a power that was overflowing with Love, Truth, and Grace, concepts the new church wanted to control. These orphans of the church, and to some extend those of us seemingly abandoned by the church, could not accept the nature and quality of God that the new church professed. The strictures demanded came from the depths of mortal, not spiritual, belief.
It is no different today! Many long-established churches are too concerned with holding onto ancient creeds and confessions that mean little to modern, particularly young, people today. The leaders are more concerned with over-valued church buildings than they are with the concerns and welfare of the people. Is not this what Jesus live for, a move away from religion more concerned with power than Truth?
Jesus asks us to go into a private room to pray and meditate, away from the strictures of the stale religions. We have a one-on-one relationship with God. We receive the Christ from our individual devotion to God, to Life, Truth, and Love that only God possesses.
I condemn not the churches! They do much good for their communities, but they can do so much more. I can count on one hand the number of times I have felt God within me while attending church. But when I am out of all types of buildings, including my home, I encounter God wherever I am. God is not found confined to buildings. To me, when I leave my abode and experience God’s creation, I am in my proverbial desert, constantly praying for I am surrounded by God’s Truth, Love, and Life.
©Russell Kendall Carter