God spent a lot of time explaining every detail he wanted in his home with the Israelites. He didn’t leave much to the imagination or ask us to do “whatever works.” God had a very specific plan in mind for his home, and the people who would be directly interacting with it.
Interestingly Jesus didn’t do this. Jesus was messy.
There wasn’t a lot of formality around how to approach him. There wasn’t a lot of people wearing only certain types of clothing. Or saying certain types of things. In fact, Jesus constantly had people touching him who were “ceremonially unclean,” meaning people who couldn’t enter God’s presence. And yet he didn’t do anything but love them.
Sometimes you hear people say that Jesus meant to create a religion. But I don’t buy that. I think Jesus came to establish a relationship with us. This is why he always loved the people who needed it, and why the New Testament isn’t filled with rules on how to establish a physical church. Jesus went out of his way to break social conventions in order to build relationships.
Relationships are messy. Religion is organized. Relationships have sacrifice, love, compassion. Religions have rules, structure, bureaucracies.
What would Christianity look like if we were more interested in showing that same love, and less interested in showing religious protocol? How would your life be different if local churches worked to create a relationship with God and not to create a religion?