it is ironic that the only people Jesus ever fought with were the super-religious types. here were a bunch of people who really followed the details of the letter but completely missed the boat. i guess they favoured the process over the people. and Jesus rectified that, but He also never said to throw out the process, did He?
We live with these Christian traditions that are in danger of institutionalizing themselves [if not already] to the degree that the people are no longer the point. It’s about the order of service. It’s about maintaining and defending the traditions of church, with scant regard to how people respond to them. And yes, there are examples of this not happening: this is not about those examples.
There’s this checklist which defines who is and who isn’t a christian, as if it’s actually quite important to be one in the eyes of the world. And we’re challenged by the world, and ourselves, to maintain and represent christians around the world, in truth. and as noble and true as that might ring, that is completely not the point. yet it is 🙂
first priority is your own salvation in the eyes of God; not man, not church, not even your own pastor. not even a prophet can declare your state of salvation. God alone has that right, and what a good thing that is. and you will know because He will declare it to you. also, believing you are a child of God is quite different from knowing you are one. kinda like marriage. before you enter into a covenant relationship with someone, you have all sorts of fancy ideas and presumptuous notions about what it is. you might even believe you’re married [co-habiting] but then you actually get married. it’s no surprise a relationship with God is any different. afterall, marriage is His institution. so unless you’re enjoined to God in a covenant, talking like you are is not going to help anyone, the very least of whom is yourself.
so church traditions and the order of service are setup to establish a form of godliness, but deny the power of God. they might never have been intended that way, but they become that way. give it enough time, enough apathy and pretty soon all you got is a framework that exists to define what is christian and what is not.
does that mean you throw out the framework? no. it’s all about attitude and no amount of re-engineering of the process is going to realign your life with God. you’re just going to establish yet another framework or framework version 2. so instead of trying to make up your own, use the one that God provided, from the beginning. afterall, we do need a framework of sorts with which to worship God otherwise it’s too loose for us to grasp, or be intentional about. fortunately, God did provide us with a framework, a process which we can use to facilitate our worship of Him. it starts with a sabbath…
uhoh. sounds like legalism 🙂 well, if God’s instructions are too legalistic, then so be it. but then perhpas we should not be so ready to defend our own traditions against God’s wisdom and commands. then we have a bigger problem than just the letter. it is ironic though, in all this, how religious we can get about being “not religious”. of course, the advantage of religiously supporting a “no religious attitudes” policy is that it’s open to everyone…