By Jon Wren
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious” or, “I’m not into organized religion”? We’ve probably all heard it; maybe we’ve even said it! In matters of faith, there might not be a less popular word than religion.
The word religion comes from Latin; it is a combination of the word re (meaning “again”) and ligamen (meaning “bond” or “connection”). Ligamen is the Latin root for the English word ligament—the connecting tissue between muscle and bone. The word religion essentially means to reconnect something that has been broken, severed, or torn apart.
What a perfect description and picture of our faith in Christ. The curse of sin tore apart and severed any connection we could have with God; it left us without any way to repair the break on our own. But through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we are reconnected to God and to an eternal hope!
Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). By placing our trust in him, we are rebonded to our creator and to the promise of eternal life.
Maybe the word religion isn’t so bad, after all.
As we take Communion, we remember that only through Christ can we cross over from death to life. So, let’s celebrate the truth that God isn’t angry, vengeful, or distant. He doesn’t demand that we earn forgiveness through our own effort or ritual. Instead, let’s celebrate that God repairs what is severed, restores what is damaged, and always seeks to bind up what is broken!
Jon Wren works with the Office of Civil Rights, addressing the impact of gentrification on school desegregation. He loves history, college football, and once got a ticket for driving too slowly.
I’m learning there are more and more people, many of them longtime Christians, even past church leaders and staff, who are fed-up with institutional churches but who want to regularly meet together in a small group or house church. I’m not in favor of the inward-focused house churches often found in America, but where around the world Christianity is growing rapidly it is usually outward-focused house churches.