Contrary to the popular belief, Jesus never introduced religion but a model of relationship. It is summed up in the greatest commandment: Love God and one’s fellow human as one’s self.
This vertical and horizontal relationship is the essence of the Lord’s Prayer. The first part pertains to relationship with divine, the last with humanity. “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” The use of plural words in the prayer – our, we, us – reveals the inclusiveness of Jesus in relationship.
Obviously, Jesus advocates spirituality, not religion. For religion promotes belief in various forms including rituals, dogmas, and creeds. Spirituality, on the other hand, espouses the relationship of the human person to something or someone who transcends themselves. This type of spirituality has two dimensions, personal and social or communal.
Similarly, Jesus has never skipped the voluntary process despite the supposed favor from people who know his real status. He prevails on John the Baptist when the latter appears reluctant to perform the required ritual. Jesus even rebukes disciples in their vindictive actuations against discriminatory treatments. Humiliated in an attempt to bridge the gap between warring cultures in one Samaritan village, he rules out retaliation as insinuated by James and John. He calmly tells Peter to hold peace, when fighting back against the savagery of his captors, despite having in his disposal legions of angels to protect him when needed.
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