Reject Rituals

Written by George Toh (Singapore)

George Toh is a father to 2 wonderful sons that taught him the heart of the Father. He is an administrator in the National Institute of Education and enjoys jogging and aquariums.

October 26, 2021

“Now then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat. For as you eat, each of you goes ahead without sharing his meal. While one remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have your own homes in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What can I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? No, I will not!”
(BSB, 1 Corinthians 11: 20-22)

Paul rebuked the church for not honoring the Lord’s Supper when the disciples forgot the point of partaking it, which is to remember our Lord Jesus Christ.

The body of Christ that I regularly worshipped with partake of Holy Communion as a congregation on the first Sunday of every month. As we are now in COVID times, my family and I attend online services instead.
We would follow the instructions of the pastor facilitating the Holy Communion and partake of it.
My younger son (9 years old) would often join us for these services and we would partake of the Holy Communion together.

Like most children, he would occasionally get distracted and cease to pay attention.
When that happens, we would disallow him from joining us.
We reasoned that we were trying to prevent him from dishonoring our Lord Jesus and consequently, bring judgement on himself.
It was certainly not acceptable for him to be distracted during service but was forbidding him to partake of Holy Communion the best way to handle the situation?

While listening to 1 Corinthians chapter 11 during one of my runs, God had me examine my heart.
He showed me that I was more concerned with following the instructions and ’rituals’ conducted by the pastor instead of making sure that the whole family comes together to remember the Lord.
He showed me that I had forgotten the real meaning of Communion as the Corinthian Church.

I could have simply switched the screen off, gather my sons and have everyone settle down before we prepare ourselves to pray and remember the Lord.

I could have put everything down to speak to my son and explain to him the significance of what our Lord Jesus went through by taking the cross and why we take Communion.

Why didn’t I do that?
The real reason was that I was more concerned with the outward expression of following the order of service.
I had failed to give what my child truly needed – an understanding and the continuing remembrance of the unimaginable magnitude of the love of our heavenly Father and His only Son for us.

I thank God that by His grace, He revealed to me what was in my heart so that I was able to identify the wrong thinking and deal with the corresponding behavior.

In this case, God showed me a better way to honor Him during Holy Communion.
Perhaps more significantly, He is also revealing His heart, which is always about people.
His thoughts are always about bringing people closer to Him and enabling them to enjoy the blessings of His presence.

In this, He also showed me that He is pleased when I, too, am able to see people around me (especially my family) the same way.
Rules and rituals are there for a reason, but it is never to replace the need to love one another.
Religion, apart from loving people, is not only pointless – it displeases the Lord.
Ultimately, it has to do with the motives of our hearts – why we do what we do.
Two persons can be doing the exact same thing, but because their motivations are different, each will receive a different reward from the Lord.

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes.
He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.
At that time each will receive their praise from God.”
(BSB, 1 Corinthians 4:5)

Prayer and Reflection Points:

  1. What are some areas in your life that have been flooded with rules & routines that have become ‘religious’ instead of acts of worship to please the Lord?

  2. What does the partaking of communion truly mean to you? Let this be a time of allowing your heart to be checked and ministered to by the holy Spirit. 

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