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More than memory games

The Lord said, "These people claim to worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are somewhere else. Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized."

Isaiah 29 : 13 (GNB)

Some people can memorise the exact order of a shuffled pack of cards. Some can remember random trivia facts, and quote lines from movies. Others can remember the exact moves to religious routines performed in church services. One thing that all of these things can have in common is that by themselves they are all completely pointless.

Let's focus briefly on religious ritual. Jesus tells us that simply remembering and re-enacting religious ritual is meaningless. Religious rituals covers a pretty broad range of activities. Here are a few examples: how the service is ordered, how you start and end a service, the way you greet one and other, how you celebrate Communion. Different churches may present these in different ways but essentially the underlying principle is the same.

So is Jesus saying that these things are wrong? Is he saying that we shouldn't do them and avoid all routine? I don't think so. However what he is saying is that these things shouldn't get in our way, or replace a meaningful relationship with him.

Ritual and routine help give us a starting point or guide to help us relate with Jesus, nothing more, nothing less. Routines themselves have no real value, they should only be there to help you connect with Jesus. If you are simply doing something because that is what you always do maybe you need to pause and reflect. Consider what value it is bringing into your relationship with him, then ask God whether it is time for a change in routine.

This week take a look at the memory games that you play, do you have any that it is about time to forget? Have a great week.

This week's song is Take My Heart by Tom Smith.

Header image by: Sam-Cat via Flickr