Can you find religion in the American made tradition of a fortune cookie? After church we went out for Chinese by request from my now 5-year-old; I opened my fortune cookie and found this message.
Generally these fortunes aren’t really fortunes at all but often cliché sayings that are supposed to make you feel better for eating too many egg rolls. They have become so silly that people have even started making games out of these feeble sayings.
This one, however, was different; maybe it was different because I needed to hear it. We all need a reminder from time to time that our faith is something that is not static but ever-changing and growing.
We turn to it in our times of need and in our times of sorrow.
Can faith really drive out fear? I think so if we remember that it is there to begin with.
This little piece of paper reminded me that while the future is always uncertain, my reaction to it is not.
My faith might be shaken or even shrink to the point of non-existence but there is something that will always call me back, something that will point to something greater than myself. In a world of 10,000 emails, productivity software apps, deadlines and commitments, we can forget that the simplest thing is to have faith like a child. We don’t have to have all the answers, run around with an “I love Jesus” t-shirt on or even attend a local congregation. The faith that we have can be simple or it can be great; all that matters that we have that faith.
Every person as a part of their faith journey has some reason why they keep coming back to God even when facing adversity or doubt. There is something that calls us back into communion or relation with God that undeniable. There is a moment in every person’s life when the Divine was so real, so tangible, you felt as if you could almost reach out and touch God. Our hearts our filled, they are overwhelmed with God and God’s grace or mercy or love or forgiveness. That is that calls us back… that is where we find our wholeness and completeness. This faith drives out our doubt and fear; this faith is undeniable and the bed rock of our understanding of God.
Over time we can lost sight of it or think that we should be doing more, but more times than not we will return this place to recharge and reconnect.
So yes maybe you can find religion in a fortune cookie. The next time you stuff your face with Lo Mein and spring rolls and before you learn your lucky numbers and how to say “sugar” in Chinese, be sure to look for the message that awaits you, you never know what you might find.
Keep the faith.
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”– Saint Augustine, taken from The Confessions
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 Common English Bible