When I was growing up, one of the rules in our house was
that we weren’t allowed to go to bed angry (Eph. 4:26).
All our fights and disagreements had to be resolved. The
companion to that rule was this bedtime ritual: Mom and
Dad would say to my brother and me, “Good night. I love
you.” And we would respond, “Good night. I love you too.”
The value of this family ritual has recently been
impressed on me. As my mother lay in a hospice bed dying
of lung cancer, she became less and less responsive. But
each night when I left her bedside I would say, “I love
you, Mom.” And though she could say little else, she would
respond, “I love you too.” Growing up I had no idea what a
gift this ritual would be to me so many years later.
Time and repetition can rob our rituals of meaning. But
some are important reminders of vital spiritual truths.
First-century believers misused the practice of the Lord’s
Supper, but the apostle Paul didn’t tell them to stop
celebrating it. Instead he told them, “As often as you eat
this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s
death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).
Rather than give up the ritual, perhaps we need to restore
Lord, when we observe the Lord’s Supper, help
us avoid the trap of letting our observance
grow routine. May we always be moved with
gratitude for the wonderful gift of ritual.
Any ritual can lose meaning, but that does not make the