My first job as an engineer was at Volkswagen in Brazil. It was a fun job in the vehicle testing department, where we got to work on future products that were not for sale yet.
The plant where I worked had thousands of employees and very tight security system. The whole place was surrounded by a tall fence and at the gate there were security guards who would scrutinize everybody and everything coming in or going out of the campus.
There were strict rules they had to follow, and one of them was to inspect any briefcase or purse, to make sure nobody was stealing from the company.
One day we had a birthday celebration in our department and somebody brought a cake to share.
Well, at the end of the day there was still some cake left, so I decided to take some home with me.
Looking for a way to carry it I found a clean, empty box where a carburetor was received. It was a little big for my slice of cake, but it was the best I could find. I still remember the bright yellow and blue supplier logo on the box.
As I was leaving the plant, I was carrying the box on my hand, because it was too big for the briefcase.
At the gate the guard asked me to open my briefcase and proceeded to inspect inside, as he had been trained to do.
No surprise there. The surprise was that he never questioned about the box!
Actually, I only realized that after I walked away. Both him and I were stuck in the routine of how things were always done.
I am afraid we do that with a lot of things: in our work, at home, and in our relationships.
Religion is particularly dangerous in that area: we may go through the motions of what we have been taught, and what we have always done, while forgetting the principle behind it, the reasons why we do something.
We can worship mechanically, we can pray repetitions so automatically that our brains are somewhere else.
That is not religion. At best, this is tradition.
I believe we can do better. We can look for a real relationship with our God, so when we talk to Him in prayer we understand what a privilege we are having. When we worship, we can open our heart and express our recognition that He is the one who gave us life here, and can give us eternal life with Him.