"You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger." ~Buddha
"Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress." ~Mahatma Gandhi
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." ~Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The quieter you become, the more you can hear." ~Baba Ram Dass
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." ~Dalai Lama
"The kingdom of God is within you." ~The Gospel of Luke
And then, I went to church with my mom. I suppose that if I were to set my "relationship to religion" status, it would be "it's complicated." Not my relationship to God, but religion, which is so often used as a weapon. When I take the Belief-O-Matic test, I turn out to be 100% Unitarian Universalist, but as of yet, I've not attended a Unitarian service. (One of these days, I will, but I currently value my obligation-free weekends beyond measure.)
I was Christened as a baby in the United Methodist Church, raised in an interdenominational church led by and Episcopal priest, and confirmed into the Episcopal Church around the age of twelve. That confirmation was not something I felt in my heart, but something I did, mostly for my mom. I stepped away from the church in my early twenties because my beliefs and practices, my own personal journey with spirit, led me elsewhere. I believe that the pathway of Jesus is one of many pathways to God, and much of the liturgy of the church, I found I could no longer participate in in good faith, even though I sometimes found its ceremony and ritual moving.
I haven't really missed going to church; my spiritual life is quite full, but when I walked into the candlelit sanctuary on Christmas Eve, I remembered a few things that I had forgotten. When the choir began to sing, when the rich, magical aroma of incense began to fill the air, the chakras in my palms activated and I remembered what I love about the Episcopal Church.
The sermon was one of kindness and hope. The music was ethereal. When the lights were lowered after the Eucharist and the kneeling congregation sang Silent Night, I was moved. In that moment, all else fell away. It was simply spirit, simply love -- the communal channeling of God energy. It could have been a church or a forest or a beach. It was the energy that reached me, the love.