August 15, 2014
As I have gotten older I have found comfort in the status quo of things. Some people may call it a rut, but my life is fairly regimented between work and study and teaching. Each week is just about the same as the last, never having enough time to get everything done, but making do with the time that I have.
People tend to approach religion in much the same way. Our services are regimented with rituals and procedures. There will be periods of singing, standing, greeting each other, taking up an offering (we can’t forget the offering), and the preaching followed by an alter call.
But we find comfort in our religious rituals when we know what to expect and we can be obedient to them. It makes us feel like we gain a special place with God if we perform these rituals, or that they must please God in some way, or why else would we do them?
We certainly must be in better standing with God than the person who only comes to church on Easter and Christmas, if even then. Right? That has to be worth something, right?
However, these rituals are certainly not described in the Word of God. We are commanded to gather together and worship, and there are certain ordinances given by God, such as the Lord’s Supper, and Baptism, but sitting, standing, and singing 4 choruses, before the preaching is not in the Bible. I know, I have looked for it.
Now, do not misunderstand me, I am not condemning a structured service. Like I said, I find comfort in the regimintation of things. What I am condemning is the condition of the heart of those who are participating in these services.
If you come to church on Sunday, and then live like the devil on Monday through Saturday, then these rituals are just that, rituals. But if you come to church on Sunday to truly worship God, and you live the rest of your life in the will of God, then God loves the singing of praises to Him, even if it is just the first, third, and fourth verses.
Our lesson today is about the vanity of the religious ritual.