I was challenged over Christmas by a family member who said that ritual and ceremony were not important to God, only your relationship to Him is important. .
Let's just look at our relationship with God. If I treat God at least the way that I treat my beloved friends and family, I would find out more about Him. What are His habits, likes and dislikes, what kind of information do I have to base my relationship with this all-important person in my life?
Well I have the Bible and some other early writings of people who knew Jesus Christ first or even second-hand. If I start in the Bible, in the Old Testament i come to places where God specifically called for ritual and ceremony, He ordered a place of meeting, at first a tent, then later a building or temple. He also ordered statuary and vessels for the ceremonies. He proscribed the way that He was to be worshiped and adored in the tent or temple. Hmmm. Well, you ask, I thought Jesus did away with all that stuff?
Let's look at Jesus, He went to the temple and he had a Bar-Mitzvah, and he read his Half-Torah. He went to the temples first to preach until they threw Him out. He kept passover, we know this for certain and He honored the local marriage Ceremony with his presence also.
What about His followers did they seem to think that ceremony and ritual was now passe"? Well when we look at our earliest record of Jesus followers they risked their lives to get together for mass(breaking bread together).
I would conclude that in my relationship with Jesus Christ, I better get on board and embrace Ritual and Ceremony.