Under the Old Covenant, man engaged in the practice of ritual sacrifices in order to please God. Interestingly, In Micah 6:8 we see the conclusion that God was really interested in demonstrations of justice, mercy, and humility rather than in any rituals. All of these preferred behaviors were logically performed for the benefit of one’s fellowmen rather than aimed directly at God.
Under the direction of the church, Christians have been instructed in the practice of new forms of ritual sacrifice, generally known as “acts of praise and worship”. These prescribed activities are seen as one’s divine duty, required by God as a demonstration of our love and respect for Him. The idea of sacrifice is established by demanding such piety plus abstinence from all “worldly” pleasures.
Lost in all this re-invention of a ritualistic approach to relationship with God is the marvelous message of Jesus, in which he stated that as we treat others so we treat God. Any attempts to please God which do not reflect care and concern for our fellowmen are too reminiscent of what Micah spoke about as being irrelevant. We love God as we love others. We worship God as we become servants of others. Church ritualism is fine as a source of mutual spiritual encouragement, but I think God is much more appreciative of what we do for others than of any acts of obeisance which we think are for His benefit.