There’s this idea within part of Christianity that practices like meeting together for worship, taking Communion, being baptized, and the regular practices and sacraments we are told to adhere to or we see examples of in Scripture, especially in the Early Church, aren’t important so long as we have “a relationship with God.”
That idea is a false one because we can see our Savior’s example over and over again that the practices set up by God were to be honored.
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. – John 2:13, ESV
Jews who could make it to Jerusalem for Passover were supposed to do so. It was part of the corporate worship God instituted in the Old Testament. Passover was an important religious holiday where God’s people were to remember their deliverance. Families would travel and the city would swell for Passover all the way through Pentecost. In accordance with this practice, Jesus went to Jerusalem.
In fact, when we look at these holy festivals, we see Jesus honoring them. He didn’t skip them, even though He was God. Which begs the question, if Jesus didn’t skip them, why do we think it’s okay to do so?
We shouldn’t. Other places in Scripture tell us to gather together. We are to congregate together to equip and edify each other. We are to participate in the sacraments. And we are to follow in the footsteps of our Savior.
It’s hard to have a relationship with God when we are willfully violating His example. Therefore, this notion that all we need is a relationship just doesn’t work. We can’t have a solid relationship if what He says is important isn’t a priority to us. Yes, we can and should worship God anywhere. Absolutely, we should have private communion with Him. But that doesn’t remove the fact that we should congregate together, celebrate baptisms, participate solemnly in Communion, and in every way attempt to live His example.