People praying to objects and things instead of a living God
Not so much a ritual but a practice that is coming to light in Canada – the residential schools. Horrible and far from what God wants for His children.
When I saw the pictures of the Grotto, I was trying to imagine it without all the religious art and pieces in it. I was trying to imagine it as the disciples would have seen it as a plain cave. In my opinion, “religion” can cause you to feel like you are just going through the motions of “practice”. Jesus is a real person, who longs to be in communion with us through our hearts/minds. For me, religion can seem “cold”, and not personable. Which is just the opposite of what God wants for us . He wants close personal relationship with us, and not for us to just appear “holy/religious”. He wants our hearts, and not our lip service. I believe that it is “religion” that has turned many people off and away from Jesus, because religion does contradict the very core message of Jesus Himself. Just like the religious scribes and pharisees scorned/accused Jesus, the same kind persecute “true followers” today. It happens right in our churches- they get too caught up in Practicing religion, and Jesus gets put to the side. If we are going to build up the kingdom of God, we must keep God first. Jesus was God in the flesh, and no other name can save. We as a society have got to get away from false doctrines, and seek the truth. That truth is Jesus, and no other name can save.
The artifacts are part of the story, but the real story is the Person Himself. I see the artifacts as a connection to the events of the Person, but we are to worship the Person, not the things associated with the Person. You can’t have a relationship with things, only people.