Dictionaries are usually considered terrible places to go for theological or spiritual definitions and this is another case. The picture of all the dictionaries was chosen because I like books, including dictionaries, and I own at least two of the books pictured.
So if I’m not going to go to a dictionary for a definition of “religion” where might I go?
There are a lot of places I could go but where I am going to go is the book of James. The Lectionary passage for today is James 1:17-27 and includes an excellent definition of religion. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27 NRSV)
So why would I need anything else and why did it take me more than sixteen minutes to say it? I promise you I didn’t read really, rreeaallyyyy, slowly. The rest of the James passage has some other very helpful things to say about what religion is. Give the sermon a listen and let me know what you think.
PS There is only one sermon this Sunday, you aren’t missing anything 🙂