So, if you think at all like me, you might be wondering how to take this conversation about formula and relationship and apply it. That shouldn't be our first response, but it needs to happen at some point. So, here are some suggestions..
4. Read the Bible - "Oh great. This is going to be one of those kinds of lists." We all know that we're supposed to read the Bible, that it's the primary means that God uses to communicate with us. So, why do I bother to mention it? Well, it's really easy to get into the habit when you read the Bible of going straight to the "What does God want me to do?" question. And you need to get there eventually, but if you go straight to that question, you get stuck in formula. Try reading and asking "What is God doing? What is God revealing about himself? What does God love and value?" That's a small change that can make a big difference.
3. Pray - "Again. You've got to be kidding me." Rather than going straight to confession or supplication (prayers that are great, but tend to focus on us or on our immediate surroundings), try contemplative prayer or journaling.
2. Risk - When you step out in risk for the Lord, it can help you see him as living and active. I am so aware of Jesus' reality and presence whenever I share the gospel with a friend. One of the reasons our religious formulae hurt our relationship with God is that we learn to depend on them rather than on Him. When you're sticking your neck out, it's easier to see that you need a real, living God and not a real, heavy book of rules.
1. Communion - Jesus said to do this to remember him (1 Cor 11:24). It's easy for our performance of this sacrament to be as stale as the bread it includes, but there's a lot of potential here. View it as God inviting you to share a meal with him, to spend time with him, to remember him. Every time I make my Grandmother's arroz con pollo, I remember her. In those moments, she's not just a relative in my official geneology, she's my family. Experience the living God through Communion: he is the God of bread and wine, of life not of dead religion.