It was a cold, rainy day when we wandered down cobbled streets of an old medieval town. I was angry. I was wet, hungry and sullen, and in no mood fort sightseeing.
The old church offered a moment of dryness at least. I slumped on the bench determined not to enjoy anything but then … then the peaceful silence enveloped me and calmed me.
I looked at the weathered paving stones, the crumbling pillars centuries old, serene faces of foreign saints painted at the altar.
“What do we do to religion?” I wondered. “What do we do to it?”
A question not often asked, that. What religion does to us is a common subject of inquiry — the oppression, the control, the domination and abuse. Yet there was none of that in this quiet, empty church. There was peace here, peace that calmed me, silence that grounded me. There was space here that pointed inward, deeply, deeper…
“There is God,” it said.
There is God.
This is what it is, I thought, this is what religion is: a hand pointing towards God. The first step, the guide to set me on my way.
Will I take the step? Will I follow the guide for a while and then move on, on my own, on my two feet will I go towards my God, my own God that is what I am? Or will I cling to my guide’s hand stoping when he stops, refusing to leave, refusing to move? Will I forever look to him for answers?
Will I confuse God with the stories my guide told me about him?
What will I do? What will I do with religion?