Words matter: when we bend and distort them they crack open and their life drains away. When we say “unity”, but we mean “conformity” something dies in the body of Christ.
The word “religion” is from “religio“, to bind. What does it bind? We could imagine that it binds us in constraint, that it keeps us from something—perhaps the world, perhaps each other, maybe even from sin. In this reading religion is a preventive measure, a prophylactic against anything to do with the senses, with the imagination, all things bright and beautiful, all features great and small. It becomes suffocating, rigid, a straitjacket laced tight with shame and humiliation.
But it needn’t be that way. That which binds are the bonds that hold us together and to each other. Religion flows through the poetry we take the time to enjoy, the moments in which we breathe in and out and refresh our souls, the light that even now enlightens the world. Religion, in its best sense, draws us together so that the world may know that Jesus is who he said he was—the son of God and our brother.
(Photo: Luca Baggio, at Unsplash.com)