Isaiah 58: 13-14
If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the Lord
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One of the low points of the history of God's people was when Jerusalem was conquered, the temple destroyed and the people were sent into exile. Instead of being in their own land living among their own people, they were dispersed into cities and communities. Honoring their rituals required more effort. The rituals of their faith were harder to make happen. It wasn't like it used to be. It wasn't as good as the olden days back in Jerusalem. There were more distractions and other things to do. They began to lose their identity as God's people as their rituals grew more infrequent. Along with their identity, they began to lose hope. Rituals by themselves may seem like strange or even foolish practices. Sticking candles in a cake and then blowing them out by itself is pretty silly. Communion by itself is silly. It is a pinch of bread and a little shot glass of inexpensive wine. When we disconnect the people, the story from the ritual, the ritual looks silly. We can think of a thousand things to do that make more sense or serve our own purposes better. However, everything changes that one time we feel ourselves just going through the motions of the ritual when we are suddenly aware of connecting to something greater than ourselves that we find our true identity and our purpose as God's people.
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Make us hungry for the rituals and the story that give us life. Amen.