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 the meaning.