It has become very popular in the west to state that one is “spiritual and not religious”. For years I have felt that Religion was a bad thing and that religious was a derogatory term.
For me religion was all the man made traditions and customs that many times where contradictory to scripture and inhibiting the leading of spirit. So when people asked me if I was religious I would say no.
I would rebel against the “minister of religion” title and like Hanna I would say that I am not here to serve religion but to serve people.
But to be honest, religion has given me so much. In the man made traditions and and customs I have found, healing forgiveness and solace at times when I have been lost and felt disconnected from the divine. On the other hand religion has also helped suppressing parts of me and aided me in creating a religious ego that I did not need and that hindered my spiritual journey. However when push comes to shove, I realise that I do not want to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. In the end religion has been such an important and formative part of my life that I think it is high time that I acknowledge and own my religious side.
The very word religion comes from latin re-ligare, which means to re-connect. The intent of our traditions, songs and customs is to reconnect us to the divine source. Not that we are actually disconnected, but we often fall into the illusion that we are disconnected from the source. And as far as illusions go this is probably the most widespread and most believed in. So the ritual space, the space of religion is to break down the illusion and remind us that we are all one with the source, connected and interdependent.
So as I walk my spiritual path, growing out of my ego stories and structures, religious ritual and custom breaks the illusions and allows me to reconnect to the divine source of love.