Rituals that celebrate birthdays, marriages, or even funerals help us adjust to changes in life. Rituals also serve to connect us with others such as when college students wear school colors or chant their school cheer. Rituals are also important to followers of Christ. To memorialize our acceptance of Christ, we submit to baptism; and to recall our Lord’s suffering until He returns, we take part in Holy Communion. So rituals have their place in our lives. Yet in his day, the Apostle Paul warned believers about rituals that were not so good. False teachers demanded they adhere to rituals that were at best unnecessary, and at worst were leading many away from dependence upon Christ who had saved them. He writes this about rituals in Colossians CH. 2: “Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom . . . but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Yes, good rituals can connect us with family, friends, and especially with the family of God. But we must be careful of rituals that lead us astray from God.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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