Given by Rev. Madison Shockley February 16, 2020
Pilgrim is a special place. Some have had encounters with the Divine. Friendships are deep and profound. It is who we are. Our leaders have planted, watered, and given us rich soil. We have grown. We come to church for God. Paul was trying to connect people to the Divine in ways they had not done before. The people in Paul’s community were used to being part of a community of worshipers, the cult of one of the many gods of the era. Followers of the early church began following the various leaders as if they were separate “cults”. Paul had to write his followers to remind them that the leaders were just servants of God. Today, the word cult has taken on a more dangerous connotation. A cult is a social group defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs or by a common interest in a specific person, object, or goal. A cult can cut you off from family and friends. We should show some sympathy for those in a cult as they often do not realize they are actually in one. Only when one leaves does one realize the signs. They need our support, our patience, and our prayers. There is another type of cult. A cult of personality is when a country or regime uses the mass media, propaganda, the big lie, patriotism, and government-organized demonstrations and rallies to create an idealized image of a leader. It is said that neither the who who plants nor the one who waters is anything. Only God gives growth. Jesus came to show us the way to God. We need to be on that journey of growth. Do not be fooled into worshiping the leader. They are just a guide to the Divine.