Follow the Path to Faith…not Religion

Posted: April 1, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Last night I felt peace and joy like no other by visiting out church's annual prayer path that commemorates Easter. The prayer path is a series of different stations setup in the worship center of our church that serve to take you through various events of  Holy Week and to focus your praise on Easter and its true meaning. It is amazing how something that starts out so simple, truly turns into something beautiful after 30-45 minutes. And in some cases, leads to tears. *raises hand* Year after year I can't make it through without some tear duct action. Who can blame me?

It is the most glorious thing to remember and truly puts things into perspective and makes me grateful. I enjoy this experience so much, I just had to share it with you all. Forgive the poor quality pictures as it was dark inside and I wanted to be as discreet as possible in capturing it all (aka take one quick shot instead of a few to get the perfect one). But I hope it will give you the same sort of feeling and recollection of what happened this week many years ago. Join me on the short journey, will you?

Quiet Time

We start the path with a few minutes of quiet. This is a time to calm your mind and become prepared for the remainder of the path. Take the time to really focus your mind and leave behind any outside distractions.

Praise

The next stop relives the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Remember the people waving the palms to glorify him and shouting praises for his good works. Take the time to think about all the reasons God deserves praise from your life. From the little blessings to the big ones, we all have reasons to be thankful. Consider all of those blessings and really say thank you to God.

Pillars of Praise

Think of one word or phrase that describes God to you and ways He is worthy of praise. Write it down on the pillar as a testament of God's strength and steadfastness in His love for us.

Following his entry, Jesus broke bread with his disciples at The Last Supper. He served them and gave them guidance. He warned them of his upcoming death and what it all meant. At this station, participate in communion by taking the bread and the wine as symbols of what Christ has given to you. His death for your life.

Bread and Wine

Fourth on the path, is the visit to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed right before his trial and persecution. He cried out to his Father God and laid all of his burdens out for Him to hear. He received comfort after his prayers, and although Jesus knew he faced something very difficult, he trusted God's plan and His duty in order to save us all.

Gethsemane Stones Cast Aside

Here, you are to consider something you hold onto that removes the focus from God in your life. Write it on a rock, and place it at the foot of the cross to physically show the act of letting go. I chose to let go of worry.

Following this is when Jesus was tried under Pontius Pilate and convicted to be crucified. Even though Jesus could have easily saved himself, he didn't. He died so we could be set free. After this we no longer lived in a world of law, but instead a world of grace and mercy. We are set free. To represent this, you are to walk through the barred iron gate and show you are free.

Leave the Prison

The next stop was where the tears came for me. I don't think anything more needs to be said than to look up at a cross with nails driven into it and a crown of thorns on top.

cross with nails

He went through that for me. And you. How amazing! And how could I not appreciate that? And to drive the point home...take a nail and hammer it in yourself to show that he took one for you.

Immediately afterwards, joy is restored when you stop to consider the Resurrection. He came back to show he was the perfect sacrifice, the son of God, and that His promises would be kept. Now we can know that there is abundant and joyful life in believing in Him. To demonstrate this, each person is to write a blessing on a sheet of paper to put in a dish...which will overflow, just as God's blessings overflow in our lives.

overflowing basket of blessings

The path ends with Jesus' visit with the disciples. Here, he instructs them to go out and share about him. To share his love and show people a life of mercy and grace and peace. How are we to reflect that same commitment as the disciples did? By being lights to the world in how you act, how you love, and how you praise God for who He is. Light a candle and exit the building to show that you are bringing your light into the world, to share with everyone.

*****************

Isn't that amazing? And it only reiterated my thoughts on a recent post by Averie. She asked how people got involved in their various religions. What brought them to it? What keeps you in it? I have to say that religion is not what matters. Religion, in my opinion, is a focus on the organization, the guidelines, the rules, etc. Faith is what truly matters. There is a big difference in my opinion. Religion is important to know the basics of a particular belief, but the thing that can change your life for the better is faith. Religion will send you to church on Sunday and then home to move on with your life. Religion is possibly a compartment in your life, a checkbox to fill for being a "good person", etc. Religion is where hypocrisy and negative reflections come into play because your beliefs don't spill into everything in your life. Religion is not living, breathing, praising faith and belief in something. It is going through the motions of what is expected. Faith is the deep down, heart and soul, my-life-is-incomplete-without-it TRUTH that makes a difference. Do you have faith? Or do you have religion?  Faith is the relationship with God and understanding of what he does for you. Religion is saying you believe in something and not acting it out. You might think religion or no religion is enough,  but if you lived with faith, you would come to realize it is not. Not even close. Follow a path of faith. It will do things for you that you could not even imagine.

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14 Comments to “Follow the Path to Faith…not Religion”
  1. Very powerful post. Thank you <3

  2. Heather says:

    this is amazing, and so true. “religion” is not a relationship with God, it’s a man-made thing to make us feel good and righteous. the only hope is to make a relationship with God the most important thing, since he’s the only one who can save! thank you for such a beautifully written post!

  3. Awesome post. You always have such inspiring words.

  4. homecookedem says:

    Beautiful post!! It gives me goose bumps when I think about how special and amazing this week leading up to Easter is!! 🙂 Andrew and I haven’t settled on a church yet, but we do have faith and a relationship with God and I feel like that is what is most important.

  5. You know, when I’m feeling “eh” and need some encouragement, your blog is the first one that comes to mind.

    Right about now, I’m going through a particular struggle. But when I look at the bigger picture, I realize that what I think is “important” is really so insignificant in the grand scheme of things! With Easter right around the corner, I’m really trying to recommit my life to the Lord and make HIM my main priority, rather than my selfish, human desires! Okay, so maybe I’m going off on a tangent, but I just love feeling like I have a place where I can be honest about those things 🙂 So thanks <3

    • Tina says:

      Thank YOU for saying this. It touches me to know that there are others out there who find joy in my words. It helps us to motivate each other to become more and more like all God created us to be. I am here if you EVER need any support whatsoever. It is hard to let go of worries in our lives. I can totally relate. Sometimes I have to think, will this matter a year from now, five years from now, at the end of my life? Sometimes that helps….even though that last one can be depressing too. LOL

  6. oh what an articulate post, Tina! I love it and was going to link you because of the great comment you left yesterday on the difference, and now, i see this awesome post, love it! I’ll link it up 🙂

  7. I completely agree. This is the most amazing post!!! There is a such a huge difference between religion and faith. It drives me INSANE when people act all “holier than thou” because they go to church but then live the rest of their lives.. well not like they know the Lord. Church and religion does not save you, God does, faith does.

  8. Jennifer says:

    I was intrigued while reading on Loves Veggies and Yoga, and I’m glad I came over. Perfect description of religion and faith. I’m glad I found you!

    • Tina says:

      Thanks! Come back and visit soon. And be sure to let me know if you have a blog. I always love knowing more about any readers I have. Have a wonderful day.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for reminding me the importance of faith. You really give your blog’s name justice. Keep it up!

  10. […] Happy Easter! Jump to Comments Hey guys!  This is just going to be a quick post this morning, and I’ll be back later with all of the eats for this weekend.  First of all, Happy Easter to all of you!  Whether you’re a believer or not, today is a day of renewing life and should be celebrated.  I celebrate because today marks the day when my savior Jesus defied all odds and rose from the dead, cleaning me of my sin, guilt, and shame (and I have a LOT of that stuff) and welcomed me to live with him forever.  That’s something worth celebrating!  Tina has a great post on the death of Jesus and the difference between religion and faith…check it out here! […]

  11. Jenn N. says:

    I have no idea how I missed this post. It’s lovely. I find faith and trust in God to be deeply intertwined.

  12. What a great post! And so true. 🙂

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