Since the earliest times of Christianity, icons or items venerated or held in esteem have been reminders of our human need to ‘possess’ memories These paintings, carvings, etc., were especially helpful in telling the stories of God in a time when Bibles were not available for private reading, and when most people were illiterate.
If you walk the catacombs in Rome, you will find early Christian graves decorated with Christian images, just as the Roman Jewish community adorned their graves with Jewish paintings and symbols. Christians and Jews never worshipped these icons, paintings, etc. They were memories preserved.
A couple of religious items I treasure are the Bible and stole presented at my ordination. However, what I consider most important is the gift passed on by my mother. It was a life of true devotion to the Lord.
Carried inside her Bible was a saying: “With the Word alone, people dry up. Wiith the Spirit alone, people blow up. With the Word and the Spirit, people grow up.” Everything the human mind can invent will never match the gift we have been given by God.
My most precious religious possession is knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, passed on by faithful believers. Knowing I belong to the Lord is the message of the Good News. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Peter Hawker, Anniston First United Methodist Church
Our ability to teach
Religion and spirituality are two very different things.
The word “religion” originated in 1150–1200, and started out in Middle English as religioun. In Latin, it is translated religion, and is a stem of religio,to be conscientious, full of piety, related to ligare, as to tie or fasten, as in religare, to bind or tie.
The implication is that religion ties and binds, whereas spirituality denotes a much richer meaning and refers to an ultimate or an immaterial reality, an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his or her being, the deepest values and meanings by which people live.
Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop an individual’s inner life.
Spiritual experience includes that of connectedness with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self with other individuals or the human community.
An alignment with nature, the cosmos and the divine realm is inherent in a spiritual quest.
Spirituality is often experienced as a source of inspiration or orientation in life. It can encompass belief in immaterial realities or experiences of the immanent (indwelling, inherent) or transcendent nature of the world.
Our spiritual inheritance enriches us, and is what I cherish most.
From our biblical forefathers and praying parents, we have inherited what is most valuable: the ability to teach our children.
Beverly Mattox, Word Alive International Outreach