Many in today’s world believe that spirituality is enough . . . but if we move to the meaning of the word “religion” I think we will find it has relevance in our lives, even when it gets messed up because of our human touch.
Take a moment to think of your best friend. Someone you can share anything with and you know they will always have your back and be by your side.
Perhaps it is a family member, a long-time friend, or someone new in your life … undoubtedly there is someone in your heart that takes the spot of a “best friend.”
Now, take a moment to think about how you became friends.
Undoubtedly it wasn’t an “arranged” friendship . . . a parent did not “tell you” this would be your “best friend” from this day forward. It was organic . . . a relationship that began and then grew over time.
Finally, think of all the “plusses” that come with that relationship.
How is your life better because of this friend?
Spirituality and one’s relationship with the Divine is no different from that organic earthly friendship. In fact, one of the beautiful things about being a part of a religion means becoming friends.
The etymology, or origin, of the word “religion” gives us insight why “religion” matters.
The root of the word is “lig-,” as found in the word “ligament.”
The meaning is to connect, join together, unite, or to bring everything together in one body or one-wholeness.
And “re” means “again.”
So – good religion is about connecting us together again, with one another and with God.
Just like we built that “best friendship” – those are the same practices we can utilize to build our connection with God.
As we work on becoming naked spiritually we are also becoming intentional about forming vital connections with the Divine.
The vital connection is one we form together with God (Love), and with one another.
What joy we could each have in our lives if we let go of our bitterness, our barriers, and our hurdles to experiencing love and allow God to permeate all facets of our being.
Regardless of whether you are a lifetime Christ follower of if you are only recently beginning a journey into religion . . . spend some time pondering your relationships as vital connections.
And according to McLaren in Naked Spirituality, vital connection is another name for love.
Thoughts to Ponder:
- Take a minute to write down all the people you would consider a “friend.”
- Take a minute to write down people you could have a relationship with but you have allowed barriers, hurts, or other obstacles to get in the way.
- Now, ask God to reveal to you how you could move forward with a vital connection with both sets of people that might allow you to experience God’s divine love more fully. Sit in silence for a few minutes so that God can speak to you. Then act . . .
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best-the sun to warm and the rain to nourish-to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
 McLaren, Brian D. (2011-03-15). Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words (p. 19). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.