I was listening to a radio program last week — it really doesn’t matter which one — and one caller indicated that religion was a matter of heart. The host indicated the opposite: that it was necessary to hold, yes, your religion in your heart but it was additionally and equally, if not moreso, necessary to hold your religion in a church.
That made me think, for a moment, about my place and how I hold my own personal religious feelings.
I very rarely speak or write about my religion or my beliefs. I’m of the opinion that my relationship with God primarily involves myself and my Lord. Individually, I’m not a “joiner” per se; my life doesn’t quite revolve around the approval of other humans and it never has. I tend to be a loner by nature and my friends — I’m not quite sure that I really have even one very close external friend at this point in my life. I have many acquaintances; that is true. I’d have to say my wife is my best close friend, amongst other roles.
It’s only within the past, say, five years or so that I’ve even taken time to consider my relationship with God. Predominantly, prior, He didn’t even really “factor.” Time and events will do that.
But perhaps my eyes were most recently opened when one of my friends at work, now retired, came back from a European vacation and presented me with an object he’d acquired at the Vatican. It was a cross, pictured above, blessed by Pope John Paul II in May of 2004. Since the moment he gave it to me, I’ve worn it every day. Not because I’m such a pious or sanctified or good man; but instead because it forces me, it reminds me, every morning when I look in the mirror, to remember my place in the grand scheme and to actually try to be a good man.
No, I don’t belong to a church nor do I attend weekly. But neither did Jesus, per se. Wherever he went, he carried his Father.
Where do you carry your beliefs? Church or heart?