Jul 3, 2009
Some Evangelicals fail to see The Church's rituals as vital to the life of the Church because they have convinced themselves (or have been convinced by their pastors) that rituals, while vital to the 'Old Testament System', have been done away with by Christ under the 'New Testament System'. Thus they see any type of 'ritual' by the Church to be a reversion back to the "old" ways.
To 'modern' people (like us) rituals that involve a sacrifice and blood seem like some sort of throw-back to less civilized times. After all, didn't Jesus do away with the need for bloody sacrifice and performing of rituals? ..... An honest look at the scriptures must conclude that the answer to this is NO! We still offer to God a bloody sacrifice for the remission of our sins and through the ritual of the Lord's Supper remind YHWH and ourselves of the "blood of the New Covenant which is poured out for many" (Mark 14:24).
What we too often fail to realize is that Jesus didn't do away with sacrifice or ritual. What He did was take sacrifice and ritual up into Himself and transform them ............. make them "new". I guess you could say that under the New Covenant, sacrifice and ritual have been 'born again'.
Our rituals have been transformed from rituals of exclusion to rituals of inclusion. They have been instituted to teach us that "the Gospel" is not about you or me individually, but about the "New community" that has been created in Christ. This is what the common bath "One Baptism" and the common meal "One Cup and One Loaf" are all about. They teach us that we must die to self. They teach us that we must become like Jesus.
Jesus' ushering in the New Covenant did not mark a movement from a time of ritual to a time of non-ritual. It marked a time of change in the rituals we have been commanded to perform as God's people.