Heartfelt Desire versus Ritual

God, whom all acknowledge as being the very template of sanity, is Justice Personified, wherein He bases judgment of any who offends another, on that entity's circumstances, with retribution meted accordingly.

But the Hebrew people, of whom God had appointed as arbiters of mankind (sorry if you don’t like it but there it is), didn't want the due process of justice but instead demanded doctrines of fairness and the pretense of equality as their law, in the way blasphemous nations already had -- they being city-states where everyone is guilty under one code, no matter the circumstance.

So in expanding the basic format God gave through Moses into six-hundred and thirteen legal statutes—very hard laws to which no one could adhere—the only way one could even learn to follow all these laws was by ritualistic rehearsal.

And so when the Hebrews themselves still couldn't abide by their very own laws, Joshua the Son-of-God arrived to release them from the law, by fulfilling the law -- only to be killed for it and then resurrecting to BECOME the Law Incarnate, thus imbuing all loyalists with God's Justice by proxy.

We loyalists have been allowed for the past two-thousand years then, to overrule all religious ritual by our simply giving God his due. But as religious ritual is so ingrained, even within our so-called progressive society, the observer had to learn to totally ignore it in order to join partnership with God, as nothing about God involves ritual of any kind.

Nevermore, nevermore

When the observer and a former colleague once stayed at an old clapboard farmhouse on the edge of  famous vineyards, where its widowed owner gave them bedrooms, he took the room at the front of the house, telling the story from his notes—
It was a clean, small and decent room and I didn't mind the bed being the one where the widow’s mother had died.
No, it didn't bother me; I'm not superstitious. The room was ok, plus I appreciated the heavy gray winter fog as alternative to winter snow I was used to, finding the scene quite picturesque despite visions of Edgar Allen Poe.
Expecting to sleep well, I didn't. My first night in that room was restless, the room supernaturally chilled no matter how many quilts I stacked, and I tossed about napping in fits.
Further unsettling was that the lady's caged Mynah Bird racketed his entire repertoire all through the night. At least he didn't quote 'Nevermore' or I'd have left immediately.
Frankly, I like to sleep in cold rooms but only as long as I'm warm within them. But as chilled as I was, it occurred the next morning that an exorcism was in order. It wasn't that I'd been bothered by a malevolent spirit—not as I'd been ghosted as a child anyway—but the unnaturalness of the cold clued that one lurked. I felt a strong need to not 'command it away' with a dramatic exorcism, but to merely release it instead.
Quietly performing the ritual by naively using holy water from a nearby catholic church unlocked and unoccupied, I'd decided to not tell the homeowner but leave the consequence to itself, which led to that second night keeping me all warm and cozy.
At the following foggy sunrise I'd awakened to find the widow drinking coffee by the long low window of her kitchen. My colleague and I thanked her for having slept well and also helped ourselves to coffee.
Without ado, the widow’s musing gaze at the swirling fog suddenly focused on a bud growing from the old rosebush beneath the outdoor window and she quickened.
"Oh my God", she declared, "Look what I see. A rose! There's a Rose growing from the rosebush…" And then more ecstatically; "That was Momma's Rosebush! She loved that Rosebush!!"
The three of us hurried outside and sure enough, there was a single bud growing from the scraggly dormant mid-December bush, which the lady carefully cut and brought inside for vasal display on the kitchen counter, where it blossomed perfectly.
Even her great noisy mynah bird was respectfully silent while the lady blithely reminisced all day about her momma, her momma's rose and life in that old farmhouse. It didn't bother us at all.
Four months later I'd learned that she'd sold the farmhouse and its remaining twenty acres to an encroaching developer and had moved to a small place in town.
Said she, "I don't know why I hung on to the old farm. Momma was gone and I just seemed stuck there, making do from day to day,”’ adding she was finally free of its bad memories and able to live her own life, and now had the money to do so.
It of course made all concerned happy for her and with me later realizing that God was above the ritual—that instead He'd required my heart for the deliverance, and not the action, and that no Godly interaction benefits just one person but that it affects all concerned.
Desire, not ritual

The observer slowly discovered that God did not ‘use him’ as churchniks are wont to say, but simply relied on his heartfelt caring to finalize a much-needed release -- in a circumstance where it wasn't the holy water or any prescribed words that did the job, but only a genuine desire to see a need and help it.

As understood, God didn't use the observer but partnered with him instead. The entrapped spirit, probably bound up by ritual long ago, had been released by heartfelt want rather than any prescribed ritual, much in the same manner as when people are truly healed.

And as for the budding rose, well, as it seemed to be a display of thanks, whomever it was from.

While the observer didn't understand the spiritual mechanics of the interaction at the time, he was at least aware of not dealing with the momma’s actual ghost but a familiar spirit meaning to entrap the family in the old place, perhaps to keep it company. Releasing it from the place also released the farmwife from serving the house instead of it serving her. It was a good-all-around scenario.

The observer drove through the area years later to discover that the old family farmhouse had been paved over and replaced by a thriving extension of the encroaching town, with no one the wiser. Plus the farmwife's old workplace had vanished as if having never existed, as many places from the observer’s own past are gratefully gone.

The ritual the observer performed that night was the last he ever did, and it got him to thinking that Joshua the Son-of-God neither performed ritual nor ever taught any -- that each healing or miracle any of his apostles performed was wrought in a manner unique to the situation -- as coming from their hearts and not from any prescribed ritual.

The observer has since learned that supernatural ritual is designed to confer prideful credit to the egotist performing it. so he/she can proclaim; "I prayed for you. I cast out devils. I performed miracles."

Such statement is the ultimate vanity leading-to-the-fall of the braggart that the Son-of-God will deny on Judgment Day.

So please no more ritual and no more bragging -- this time see if you can really care about someone without expecting valuable 'God-Points' in return.