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Get rid of ritualism

From the June 1998 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Christ Jesus' unadorned style of evangelical teaching and healing radically challenged the religious systems of his day. He instituted no elaborate rituals to honor his Father or himself. Jesus set the standard for evangelical preaching that emphasizes the understanding of the Word of God instead of the repetition of liturgies and ceremonies. His simple preaching and healing work revealed plainly the all-power of Spirit. He instructed his followers to embrace the new concept of man's living relation to God.

Religious traditionalists of his day were adamantly attached to ancient rites and narrow interpretations of the Law in their worship of God. Eventually their indignation with Jesus turned into self-willed, murderous antagonism that led to Jesus' crucifixion.

Jesus obeyed and glorified God, Spirit, in everything that he did and said. Trusting the power of Spirit to heal, Jesus did not prescribe drugs or other matter-based remedies. In relying on God's healing power, he was rebuking another phase of ritualism. He showed that true worship, healing, and living all require a change of thought. The Bible records that the Master began his public ministry by declaring, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt. 4:17 J. B. Phillips translates his words, "You must change your hearts and minds—for the kingdom of Heaven has arrived." J. B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English And motives and thoughts, hearts and minds were changed. People were stirred and awakened by what Jesus said. Multitudes were healed. Lives were redeemed.

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