Unfortunately it can be quite easy to turn life-giving ‘rites’ into mindless ‘rituals’. It can happen with our quiet times, prayer times, meetings, even with our Sabbath worship; but rituals are not, and never have been, enough! The Tabernacle in the wilderness was an awesome, spectacular tent and the temple which King Solomon built later eclipsed it entirely; both serving to show Israel that Yahweh is entirely magnificent. But all that splendour had a single purpose - Yahweh wanted humanity to know Him!
This immensely rich, omnipresent, omniscient, all-sufficient Ruler of the Universe presented His dearly loved and only Son to the world, not with glitz and glamour, or pomp and ceremony, but in humble simplicity, through an unknown family of an insignificant town, and by arranging for Him to be born in a stable.
Yahshua could have had anything, but He had nothing. Except, of course, an enviable personal relationship with His Father; and there was nothing ritualistic about that! The One who said that if He asked, His Father would send more than 70,000 angels to help Him (Matthew 26: 53) also said He had nowhere to sleep at night (Luke 9:58). This is a living reality…not a ritual!
The gift of His Son cost Yahweh more than all the vast riches of His entire universe – He had to forsake His cherished Child in the darkest hour of Yahshua’s existence. We will never fully understand what that cost Him, but we can promise ourselves never to take it so much for granted that our worship and fellowship degenerate into meaningless ritual. Wherever we meet Him, in golden splendour or humble simplicity, let’s ensure that we maintain a vibrant reality of personal connection. Performance of the ‘rites’ is not what He requires; Yahweh wants us to know Him (Jeremiah 31:33-34).