If life is the religion what are we then to make of church? The English word for church comes from the greek kurios which is best translated as the Lord’s or those that belong to the Lord. In the context of this then maybe the simplest way to express this is that the cosmos, all of creation is the Lord’s.
But to most Christians church is more than just a belonging, it is also an event. It is the place where I worship and meet with the divine (which again in the light of being alive is my daily spiritual practice, would make the place everywhere). So that is not very helpful either. Jesus, however, states that where two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be present. This has also been one (of many) definitions of church.
What does it mean to be gathered in Jesus name? I am sure that if we ask ten theologians we’d get at least 15 answers. So, here is mine.
If life is my religion, being alive is my daily spiritual practice and love is my rule then loving relationships is the primary place to experience this divine love. If we are the temples of the holy spirit, then it is when we come together and I can see the divine love in you or perhaps, when I can see you through the divine love, this is when I am confronted with the divine, the transcendent. Thomas Merton states that if we truly recognised how glorious we are as human beings, we would fall down on our knees and worship each other.
Here is the catch, when we gather together and we are guarded, when we hide behind masks of ego and fabricated selves to fit in, we never really meet the other, we never really encounter each other.
This is why I believe that Authentic friendships, the kind of friendship where we have shed our masks and constructed coverings, where we dare to meet the other eye to eye, when we let divine love reveal how the other is lovely and sublime, this is where true church happens.
It is when we dare to show up as ourselves, naked and not ashamed, vulnerable, perhaps a little scared, and share our true selves with each other, this is when we truly meet under the name of Jesus and Jesus becomes a shining light of truth, grace and justice in our midst.
Life is my religion. Being alive is my daily spiritual practice. Love is my rule. Humankind is my family. Authentic friendships is my church. The kingdom of god runs through my veins. Jesus is my brother. Becoming and being all that I am is my calling. Helping you become and be all that you are is my ministry. My deepest feelings is my guide. All living things are my teacher.