This is an important question that all too often we neglect to answer for our neighbors around us. How is your experience of Jesus and His Church somehow valuable to you?
Our culture (both in its secular and parochial manifestations) has done a phenomenal job of denigrating the word “religion” to mean something that has little value, or actually something that has negative value. Because ofthis, the habits and loyalties of religious practice have been conceptually reduced to a menagerie of peccadillos committed by a few perhaps more-ancient-leaning Christians who may also be practicing out of some sense of obligation or blind tradition rather than a real understanding of the value of such a practice.
What value is there in confessing our sins (even in private to another Christian)? What value is there in setting aside some of our earnings for the work of the Church? What value is there in a song or a liturgy? What value is there in a sacrament? What value is there in discipleship? What value is there in evangelism? What value is there in Lent? in Easter?
While our answer to our surrounding neighbors must be more nuanced than this simple answer, the value of all of these things has to be quite clear in our head. The value is Christ. If we cannot somehow trace the value of these practices back to receiving Christ, we are misunderstanding the true value of religion, and therefore, are misrepresenting religion to the rest of our culture.
What are your religious activities? How do you trace their value back to Jesus? Jesus told us that “where your treasure is, there will be your heart also” (Matthew 6). Where is that treasure for you? Where is that heart for you?