Last weekend we had about 1500 people come to our services (including children). I met so many new people, mostly followers of Christ, but also some who are searching. Looking at some of the responses we got on the cards, I am puzzled. People find it strange that there are so many religions in the world. They feel that somehow this calls into question the validity of ANY religion. Which one is true? Who borrowed from who? Is there one true religion?

I know this is not a perfect parallel, but isn’t it fascinating that people don’t find it strange that we have multiple brands of cars, for example, or microwaves, or computers? They go through great pains to research the minutiae of a new car make and model — fuel economy, noise, quality and comfort of the seats, resale value, etc., etc. They don’t mind taking upon themselves the burden of research, even if it is unpleasant and tedious. They do so because buying a new car is an expensive proposition. They know they will only have themselves to blame if they don’t do their homework.

But strangely, when it comes to a matter that might very well determine one’s destiny, instead of launching themselves with the same zeal they apply when buying a new car, suddenly people come to the “store” and place all the burden of buying on the salesman, in this case, the pastor or another Christian. Imagine going to a car dealer and saying, “I have $40,000 to spend on a new car, tell me which one I should buy.”

I am sure some people would do it and that’s why this is not a perfect comparison, but I can tell you right now: I would NEVER do it that way, let alone go to some church and say, “Tell me which religion is the right one and why.” That takes all the pressure of seeking off their plates and places it squarely on the shoulders Christians who may still be trying to find the way themselves. That is too much waging in the hands of strangers for my taste.

Instead, let me recommend that people should first do their homework. Which questions are first and foremost in my heart? What would give me satisfaction more than anything in the world? Which system offers me a sense of real calm in a world of turmoil? Which can articulate a future where evil is decidedly destroyed and good is triumphant? What answers do you have to my search for inner peace? Does your religion offer me hope that is more than positive thinking or does it invite me to simply take a leap into a fake optimism that doesn’t stand the test of reality? And the mother of all questions to me: can you offer me a well-reasoned hope beyond the grave?

That’s just for starters. There is so much more to ask, but the point here is that pointing out religious diversities, oddities and even contradictions doesn’t invalidate the possibility that one can find truth in a single system of religious truth. And the burden should still rest with the seeker.

This idea, however, should not be used to argue against sharing the truth of the Gospel with people we come in contact with every day. On the contrary: because we know the truth, we should be eager to share it with everyone.

At Grace Church, we do just that — help people discover new life (not just the right system) in the Person of Jesus Christ.

And this Sunday, as we continue in this series we’re calling “Picture (Im)perfect,” we will look at the life of Simon Peter, an ordinary man whose relationship with Christ was often marked by ups and downs, but who acquired a supernatural boldness and passionate abandon in the aftermath of his denial. Why? Because He met face-to-face with Jesus after the resurrection.

And I guess that is it, isn’t it? When we come face-to-face with the Messiah, the questions that afflicted us move from the frontal cortex to rearview mirror of our soul. They melt away as we contemplate the power and presence of the Divine Christ. So if you want a “shortcut” to your answers, look to Christ.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

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