REM didn’t just create an anthem; in the title of the epic song they put their finger on something vital. There are times when ‘my religion’ needs to be lost.

One of the constant messages to the people who took God for granted – read, for example, Isaiah 1-39 – is that sincerity is not enough, serious religiosity can be dangerous, that vision can be confused with fantasy. So, for example, thinking that God is there to make my life complete, to protect me from the contingencies of human living, or to exempt me from suffering, is a form of religious assumption that needs to be ditched. In the same way, reducing God to some sort of tribal deity is to create an illusion that needs to be abandoned.

The trouble is, we usually don’t have the courage to ditch religious fantasy. We don’t often take out our assumptions about God, the world and us, and examine them. So, it is left to trauma, loss or shock to shake us up and compel us to take a brave look at what we think matters and why.

But, losing dodgy religion can be a gift. Far better to live with reality – however messy or risky – than to live an illusion.

Generations come and go. And I discover that I am not the centre of the universe, after all. But, like any individual in any generation, I am called to be faithful to God’s way of loving, living and learning in my generation, recognising that mortality sets me free to live and die without fear.