Tamara and I walked through the checkpoint later than usual recently, at the same time as the evening call to prayer.
As we walked through the area between the gates, a man faced Mecca. Others ran to join him and they bowed, perfectly aligned and moving in sync, prostrating in prayer. I was struck by the beauty of the togetherness of it — likely men who do not know each other joined in their common faith and brought together in a ritual demonstration of submission to God.
As I watched them, humble in posture and bold in declaration of their faith in the middle of the checkpoint, I was a little bit jealous. How often do I spontaneously see a brother or sister and pray with them, especially in public? In fact, how many brothers and sisters do I walk by without ever knowing we have the most important thing in common?
In my church tradition, we seem to equate ritual with perfunctory behavior — assuming that people are forced into the effort and are going through meaningless motions.
We will never be saved through ritual behavior. But I don’t think our assumption is true.