When all we do is ritual and tradition, our religion becomes by wrote and habitual. ‘Habit’ is something we habitate – a hollow structure we live in with no substance.
If this is our approach to God, when we face exile, we will fall away and lose contact with our creator. Our faith will fail as happened to Israel when they went into exile. They no longer had the habits of the temple rituals because they no longer had the temple. They were in exile and were lost. They lost their identity, became absorbed into the culture they were exiled into and lost their special relationship with God. Are we prepared to let that happen?
It should be about relationship with God, as displayed by Daniel (amongst others). Daniel had a relationship with God that changed his life, he didn’t need to be in a particular place with customs, rituals or a special building. His life was spent in exile but he wasn’t lost.
When we find ourselves in exile, we will discover whether our interaction with God has been ritualistic religion or relational.
My prayer is that we cultivate a real relationship, that glues us to God regardless of our circumstances.
A relationship that crosses borders and boundaries.
A reationship that connects heart and mind.
A relationship that concretes faith and feeling.
Then if we enter exile, God can be with us, ready to sustain us before he restores us and brings us out of exile again.
Jeremiah 31 v 3+4
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt…”