Jesus or Religion?
Matt Hogg, vicar of St Albans Church, Fulham writes here about his experience of religion and about knowing Jesus. Matt reminds the reader that Jesus came not to bring us a religion but to bring us into a relationship with God.
Often ‘religion’ gets a bad press.
Growing up in a Christian home I found myself going to church each week, standing up at the right time, sitting down at the right time, saying the right words at the right time, singing the songs at the right time, and I left church thinking that’s how the rest of the week has got to be – doing the right thing at the right time. You can imagine that it began to feel a little bit constrictive.
I don’t know whether that’s your experience of religion, but I know that Jesus didn’t come to bring us a religion so much as he came to bring us into a relationship with God. He didn’t come to create ‘Christianity’, but asked people to follow him.
When people find out that I’m a vicar it won’t be long before they tell me that they’re not religious. Interesting though that more often than not, they say they believe in God.
What would happen if you put any previous experience of religion to the side for just one second, and for a moment considered the person Jesus Christ. Jesus was a person who forgave people, healed people, restored people, put hope back into people, put a new courage into people, and hung on the cross for people. Why – because of that arresting four letter word: L.O.V.E.
‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.’