If there’s one thing we humans are good at, it’s manufacturing.
We perceive a need, we pull out the thinking caps, the drawing board, sketching pencils-complete with a towering stack of erasers to take care of those, err…rough drafts. 😏
Eventually, through trial and error, we usually crank out a suitable answer to that need.
And there’s mass awe and satisfaction…until the next need crops up, of course. 😉
And, you know, that’s fine, in general. It keeps inventive minds rolling, something I can personally attest to the importance of, being a mom to such creative types. 🙂
But, there are some areas humanity’s tendency to manufacture shows up that it just doesn’t belong.
Particularly, today, I think of the church as a whole-our places and methods of worship.
Observances. Rituals. Traditions. We are rife with such.
There’s a lot of Biblical essentials in there, too, of course-at least, for some.
The Holy Trinity, the Bible our inerrant Word, Christ our only means of salvation.
I still know several congregations where this is at least part of their core of beliefs.
I also know others where even such simple truths have been distorted, some more recently, others for, well… for centuries.
Either way, I have only seen them grow further altered as time goes on, unfortunately.
Along with so many other things from what marriage should be to who deserves life, with lots and lots of stops for tweaking in between. 😞
But, really, beyond these obvious and obviously dismaying alterations, there are countless little twists that predate them.
Rituals augmented without much scriptural basis, traditions tacked on because they seemed holy, emphasis weighed more on ceremony than purposes of the heart.
When you sit down and begin to really sift through some of the trappings-the things we do because we’ve always done them, the committees we belong to because we’ve always had them, and the structure we cling to because it’s always been there to cling to, there are a lot of things that are just…well, things.
Man-made things. Some well meaning, some not even inherently bad-when not adopted as requirement or penance.
Well, outright lies, bald truth be known.
Now, no disrespect meant. I have friends from many different denominations.
I know all have their own emphasis and I know there are devoted followers of Christ in many a style of church.
But, there are some traditions we hold onto that are just… unnecessary.
They don’t really equate to greater closeness to Christ and they certainly won’t usher us into a higher rent district in the kingdom of God! 🙄
It’s actually something akin to an odd sort of arrogance to think these things we do make us any more fit for heaven, even if we don’t really recognize it as such.
I think in some cases, years and years ago, we bought into specific notions, either by not checking them against scripture or by seizing on a misinterpretation of a verse.
Or, else it just felt right and that was good enough for us.
Humanity, after all, struggles to resist manufacturing…
Even ways to produce “virtue”.
Over the years, these notions were solemnly doled out, one generation to the next, gaining more and more a semblance of sacredness with each passing, like a hand-me-down garment worse for wear yet never allowed to be discarded.
Rarely do we recognize there was no value to donning it in the first place.
It’s not that I am anti-tradition, necessarily.
I was in the thick of the anti-tradition camp in my day, and that can become its own set of dangerous rituals, let me tell you!
No…the answer lies not in abolishing all we’ve ever done. That’s the proverbial throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
But, I think what I long to see more of is being led by the Lord, seeking His word above the order of the program, the steps He’d lead us in versus the steps prescribed by the various procedures we’ve chosen to put in place.
To tear away all the man-made ways we try to reach God and truly humble ourselves before Him.
Because, in doing that, He who actually made man will lift us up in due time.
Heavyish word tonight, I know. But, the Lord put it on my heart, so…out it came! May we each examine our motivations carefully, seeking not rituals but a relationship with Him. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! 🙂