The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord your God.’”

Numbers 15:37-41

Sometimes as a Gentile I get a little jealous, for lack of a better word, of all the outward signs and reminders that Moses’ Hebrew audience were commanded to observe. Circumcision aside, it would be tempting to borrow those rituals and signifiers as reminders of my own commitment with God. After all, why shouldn’t we put tassels on our clothes and mark ourselves as believers?

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

1 John 2:3-6

The outward signs were reminders of that nation’s covenant with God, their special relationship and their promise to one another. It was both a promise to the creator and a contract to the neighbor, “I will remember you.” It was binding in legal and in Spiritual matters and it was fully designed for life in a country with borders, human leaders and a very Earth-dependent interpretation. The divine element is almost transcendental; God was on the mountain, far above the people or in the burning pillar, untouchable and fearsome.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2:15-17

So for the follower of God’s Anointed, Jesus, the reminder is no longer outward, material and done by human hands but inward, Spiritual and effectuated by the energetic working of God’s Holy Spirit among the members of his Body, the Church. The world and its lusts are dead and the desire to please God, our love for him, replaces that. That is why ritual and man made worship are stripped of emphasis when the congregational assembly comes up to replace the temple; God is with us!

We don’t fondly, distantly wish to speak to someone who is by our shoulder, we just turn our head. We don’t gaze wistfully at pictures of someone we love when they are sitting across the table from us. And we don’t need mementos of someone we can reach out and touch. God is with us! What more can we hope for?

Ethan Kirl