Monday, November 25, 2013

Deer hunting and Religion - part 1

Four inquisitive deer photographed near Keating, OR
I was thinking recently about deer and elk hunting, and even though I never used a rifle, shotgun or bow and arrow (I actually used a rifle on target practice once,) and never went hunting, but talking to many hunters, I learned a lot about how the process works. I see many similarities between hunting and our faith.
Searching for that priceless deer or elk is like searching for God. You rejoice and brag about it with your friends when you finally get your prize. And so should your search for and discovery of God be.
Just as you display that many-pointed head for everyone to see, so should your discovery of God be - let others rejoice with you when you finally find happiness and joy.
To get to your target and be successful, you have to be quiet and avoid any kind of noise and distractions, waiting sometimes for many hours. To really find God, you have to avoid any distractions that may prevent you from seeing him clearly, up close and personal. To really make Him alive in your life, you may have to work hard at it, for hours, days and weeks.
When you’re hunting you wait patiently for the best animal, which means you’ll probably ignore many others that are not as attractive. In your search for God, many other temptations, other sects and denominations may take you away from the one true God. Don’t be tempted with a lesser quality - go for the best.

A very obedient buck crossing by deer-crossing sign, also in Keating.
Just as you take all the necessary equipment with you when you go hunting, the search for God needs also to be accompanied by prayer, a strong focus on what’s good, perseverance and good will, a good dose of commitment and lots of patience.
Just as it’s advisable that you go hunting with friends, both for company and safety, so also your search for God will be just as effective if you do it in a communal spirit, with friends and other members of your parish.
Hunters have to take the guts out after catching a deer, and so in our Christian life we have to eliminate all the distractions and temptations that are unnecessary and not helpful to us.
Of course most people eat the venison or elk meat and nourish themselves all year round. So can those people who attend Church regularly and receive Communion, nourishing themselves with the Body and Blood of Jesus. (to be continued tomorrow)

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