So many people oversimplify following Jesus as something "religious". It is not about following certain rituals or doing things to obtain some mighty being's favor. It is about having a close relationship with the one who both created you, and gave His life to save you so He could know you.
@masterofthetiger I've grown to increasingly appreciate rituals. Rituals are an essential part of life and relationships. Without rituals, people talk about interacting with their spouse like ships passing in the night. It's not a positive commentary. The way we sleep, how we eat together, the way we end our phone calls, all of these are rituals.
Certainly rituals can continue between two people who one day look at each other and don't recognize the other person anymore. Equally so, without some rituals at some level of formality, there's not much of a relationship worth salvaging, because relationships are expressed through ritual.
My concern is throwing out the expression of relationship (ritual) in favor of relationship because there are some who lean on ritual without a relationship behind it.
@SecondJon I understand that. And I agree on most parts. Much ritual will come out of relationship. But it is more about relationship than rituals. The rituals may be important in the relationship, but they are meaningless on their own.
I grew up in the context of rejecting "ritual" which often meant refusing to acknowledge that we had our own rituals.
As I've engaged more in the Anglican tradition, I've grown to appreciate that the historical rituals are packed with meaning and purpose, whereas the less historical tradition in which I was raised had patterns (rituals) but it was with less significance and meaning.
I look at relationships differently now. Eating together as a family is a ritual we have that builds the relationships - avoiding the ritual in favor of the relationship doesn't make sense. If the relational meaning was lost the goal would be to restore that to the ritual rather than ditch eating together, unless we replaced that with a new pattern (ritual).
@SecondJon Some examples of rituals in our relationship with God would be things like scheduled and set apart time for Bible study and prayer right? Like "I set apart 6PM to 8PM every day for devotion". Or something different?
@masterofthetiger I think it can really vary. One complexity is that we're in relationship with the Church and with God, so there's things we do as a community. When we join into a family, whether through birth or adoption, there's rituals there - we give names, we celebrate. The Christian equivalent is a baptism, right? I daily have dinner with my family, the equivalent is the Lord's supper?
As part of the body of Christ, not just an individual with an individual relationship with God, many rituals are fitting into the way _WE_ do things, rather than just how _I_ do things.
Being a dad has changed my view on this too, I think.
I'm not sure how my kids could say they're in a relationship with me if don't have a pattern of doing certain things together; story time and prayer time at night, dinner together as a family, pancake Sundays.
As Christians, with God communicating himself as our Father, we're part of one family, certainly our rituals have individual qualities, but are also based on the family traditions.
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