These days we keep hearing of people returning to God or exhorting others to. All this because of a never before experienced helplessness in the face of Covid-19, an invisible microscopically small but hugely powerful enemy that infects and kills people indiscriminately.
Earlier I expounded on “Christianisms” as the go-to practices of believers who claim to have returned to God. To recall, these are basically prayers, going to Church regularly, and approaching the sacraments to enjoy the peace of soul that comes with being forgiven of a “sinful life.”
“Christianisms” are late historical accretions to Christianity and did not come from Christ. He taught us only one prayer, the Our Father, and gave us essentially one message: ”Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.”
Many people return to God via “Christianisms” because of a faulty definition of what constitutes a “sinful life.” By this they usually mean a wild and reckless way of life spent womanizing, boozing, taking drugs on one hand and not saying your prayers, not going to Church and not approaching the sacraments on the other.
People returning to God often don’t include greed and injustice in their definition of a “sinful life.” These sins call for atonement whereas “wild and reckless” ways can easily be tossed and prayer brought back to one’s life without reparation for unrecognized bigger sins. Failing to realize that the only way to love God with all your heart is to love your neighbor as yourself, they return only to God but not to the neighbor.
In a video shared in our group chat, the owner of one of the country’s biggest business conglomerates confessed to have realized that God can take his life back any time and “of what use is gaining the whole world if you lose your soul.” So he abandoned the wild and reckless ways of his youth and returned to God. Finally, he asked the viewer to pray that he and his family will remain faithful to the Lord.
My response to Mr. So-and-so’s request for prayer is this: “I will pray that he will give just wages and security of tenure to his contractual employees. But since Christianity is essentially about sharing your blessings, I pray that his return to God will be further marked by him sharing business profits with employees and not just by enjoying the peace and freedom of the Lord’s forgiveness.”
You might think it crazy of me to suggest profit-sharing. But why not? Sharing is a Christian’s concrete sign of love of neighbor. The early Christians shared whatever they owned with the whole community.
The video was captioned: “Good news from Mr. So-and-so.” But unless he shares his blessings, his return to God is just his own and nobody else’s good news.