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THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE - CHRISTIANITY
Christianity believes in one God, while the central figure in Christianity is Jesus (or Christ), a Jew who came into this world by immaculate conception to a virgin named Mary. His birth is celebrated at Christmas with hymns and gift giving. It's believed that Jesus was not only man, but also the son of God and lived his life without sin. Christianity is a religion based on the life, teachings, death by crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. Although Christians are monotheistic, the one God is thought, by most Christians, to exist in three divine persons, called the Trinity. Most Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God and the Messiah of the Jews as prophesied in the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible). According to other traditions, however, Jesus is thought to be a human Messiah that instructs his followers to worship God alone. With well over two billion followers throughout the world, Christianity is an Abrahamic religion centered on God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. One of the big issues surrounding Christianity is that some people question the existence of the Trinity. Other points of debate are the Christian beliefs in Immaculate Conception, the original sin, the existence of the Devil, and the coming of the apocalypse. Learn more about Christianity and find out how it became the world’s largest religion with holidays that are known worldwide.
THINGS TO DO
Worship is one dimension of our Christian life that has been much taught about, carried out and to be followed till death, yet failing to reach the desired height of the activity.
Reading the Bible
As a new Christian you may well experience God’s word, the Bible, speaking to you. Even if you do not sense this, it is important nevertheless to develop a regular schedule for reading the Bible. Your new life is not about feelings but trusting in God and learning more about Him. Reading the Bible each day gives food to your spirit, in the same way that mealtimes satisfy your natural daily hunger for food. A regular intake of spiritual food in this way will strengthen you as a Christian and enable you to understand more of God’s kingdom and His ways. Try to set aside time for Bible reading each day till death, preferably before you begin your day. Pray before you start and expect to hear God speak to you from His word.
Within Christianity, it normally refers to a ritual performed by a member of the clergy in a church. Most Christian faith groups agree that baptism is a must before death by which an individual is welcomed into the church. When someone decides to “get right with God,” part of the “outward sign” of accepting Jesus as their savior is being baptized. People are saved (and get to go to heaven) by believing that Jesus is the Christ and putting their faith in Him. Baptism alone does not save. However, salvation (being saved) and baptism are always tied together. Baptism marks a person's entry into the Christian community. It involves water: depending upon the group, it may be anything from a symbolic sprinkling to complete immersion. The water symbolizes being cleansed from sin. More specifically, it symbolizes dying with Christ and being raised with him. This symbolism is clearest when immersion is used: being lowered into the water reminds us of Christ's death, and being raised from the water, of his resurrection. This understanding is used even among those who don't literally immerse the candidates. Thus the process of baptism is very simple. You begin by standing, sitting, or kneeling in some water. Another Christian then lowers you under the water and then brings you back up out of the water. You could also literally call this “immersion.”
Communion is a symbolic meal, involving bread and wine. It commemorates Jesus' last meal, which he ate with his followers the night before he was killed. This meal seems to have been a Jewish Passover Seder, in which bread and wine are key elements. Jesus gave them a new significance, as symbols of his body and blood, which he was about to sacrifice in his death. Jesus commanded his followers to remember his death for them by eating bread and drinking wine in his name. He promised that he would be present with them as they did so, in a very direct way. Different Christian groups understand Christ's presence in communion differently. When he instituted communion, Jesus said of the bread "This is my body". While some Protestants understand this as purely metaphorical, most Christians believe that Jesus is in some way present in communion. Many Christian traditions believe that in some sense the bread and wine used in communion become Jesus' body and blood. This is referred to as Christ's "Real Presence". Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, and reformed all hold some variant of this concept. For Catholics this involves an actual metaphysical change in the bread and wine. While the physical properties of read and wine remain, the metaphysical identity is changed to Christ's body and blood. Lutherans and Reformed do not accept this metaphysical change. For Reformed theology, Christ's body remains physically in heaven. In communion we truly eat his body and drink his blood, but this is a spiritual matter mediated by the Holy Spirit. Lutherans believe that there is an actual identification of bread and wine with Christ's body and blood. Other Protestants take a more metaphorical approach.
In most of the churches in North Africa and the Middle East, many rituals are performed by the clergy for the benefit of all members of the congregation. In many cases, it is expected that a membership attend the churches and cathedrals to participate in these rituals, but there are also some central everyday rituals that are performed for the benefit of members who are not present. It is sometimes also expected that that certain worship services have obligatory attendance. Confession, fasting, prayer, self denial, obedience, righteous deeds and visits to holy places are other rituals, and they are often performed on an individual basis. In ones personal religious life, these can often be of more importance to the believer than the big feasts. Many ancient churches were built with a large fountain in the courtyard. It was the tradition for Christians to wash before entering the church for worship. This usage is also legislated in the Rule of St. Benedict, as a result of which, many medieval monasteries were built with communal lavers for the monks or nuns to wash up before the Daily Office. Traditionally, Christianity adhered to the biblical regulation requiring the purification of women after childbirth; this practice, was adapted into a special ritual known as the churching of women, for which there exists liturgy in the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer, but its use is now rare in Western Christianity. The churching of women is still performed in a number of Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and High church Anglicans are also traditionally required to regularly attend confession, as a form of ritual purification from sin, especially as preparation before receiving the Eucharist. Though this is only required once a year or if a mortal sin has been committed but it is a must to get purified before death.
The writers of the New Testament and the early Fathers of the Church chose instead to emphasize the concept of life itself as a pilgrimage, a journey towards the heavenly city of Jerusalem described in the Book of Revelation. In both the New Testament and the writings of the Fathers of the Church, Christians are portrayed as 'pilgrims and strangers. As would-be citizens of heaven, they are to undertake a daily life of obedience to God which will eventually lead them to their true homeland in heaven. The development, together with the growth of the cult of the saints, significantly changed Christian belief and practice. Visiting places considered sacred and 'seeing and touching' shrines and relics before death became very important. Closely associated with this Western concept of holy war was another popular religious practice, pilgrimage to a holy shrine.
Christian attitudes towards Charity can be traced directly to the teachings of Jesus. Many of his sayings and teachings emphasized the role of caring for the poor in the Kingdom of God for a person to witness or undergo a painless death. As early as the second century, Christians were practicing an interesting and very sacrificial form of charity. They would fast from meals so that the unconsumed food and resources could be given to the poor and hungry. The first mention of this practice that I have found is in the Shepard of Hermas.
Spreading of Christianity
Christianity was one of the fastest spreading religions of its time. There were many attractions to Christianity that led Jews and gentiles (non-Jews) to convert. Christianity appealed to every one of all ages, including the poor and women, which was very uncommon of a religion in that day. The poor and women were looked down upon in society, but when they stepped foot into a church, the members made them felt as they belonged. Many people became believers in Christ because it was captivating and easy to relate to. It promised what no other religion could, an everlasting life in Heaven free of monetary cost and pain. Christianity taught that Jesus Christ, the son of God, a savior by the name of Messiah came to save all people who were sinners due to Adam’s disloyalty and evil actions in the Garden of Eden. God sent his one and only son to be persecuted so humans could one day live in Heaven with him. “For god so loved the world that he sent his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus Christ died on the cross to forgive all sins of those who believe so that we can have a personal relationship with God without the hindrance of our sins. Christianity was spread by the word of mouth by Disciples, Jesus’ followers who were people who spread the gospel. The structure of the Roman Empire also aided the spread of Christianity by the Roman roads which were good for travel throughout the Empire for people like Paul of Tarsus who reached out to Jews and gentiles to tell the word. Non-Christians like Diocletian tried to persecute Christianity but the religion proved to be too powerful to be blotted out by force and a true Christian is said to propagate the good things in his religion before his lifetime finishes. It only forced Christians to become more organized. The poor were drawn to Christianity because it was one of the only religions that they could afford.
Christian wedding like most of the weddings of the world has their root in its religion. In fact it is regarded as a form of worship. Christians believe that the God has intended marriage to be an instrument to bring about the welfare and happiness of mankind. Christian life is living out one's baptism to death. A Christian disciple after being baptized dies and rises with Christ. Marriage is thought to be a part of living out one's baptism for many Christians.
Repent of your sins
Recognize that you are a sinner, with bad habits and vices, who has done bad to other people and to yourself... and repent of it, be sorry for it before you step into death.
Have faith in Christ
That Jesus Christ is God, the Messiah, (1) who died on a Cross to pay for all your sins, bad habits and vices, to pay for all your pains and afflictions, to make you whole... and (2) who raised from the death, to make you a new creature, a glorious new man to God in Christ Jesus.
In the Catholic tradition, the consecrated elements are treated with the same respect that Jesus would be if he were physically present. That is because they are actually Jesus' body and blood, so Jesus really is physically present. For that reason, it is perfectly appropriate to worship the consecrated elements. Most Protestants regard this with something between disbelief and horror.