We have discussed questions of ritual, and even considered the example of baptism for how we’d carry forward scriptural mandates without clinging to denominational detritus out of simply habit.
An earlier post asked “what is the benefit of ritual?” Are there any good aspects to rites and rituals, especially as that would affect this Mars Mission?
Gentle Breeze (Julia) made a magnificent response in a comment as she listed a variety of things she would want to bring along as a Martian Missionary… Here’s part of what she said…
First I would want the Bible. if I couldn’t bring the whole thing I would bring the four Gospels and the psalms.
Then I would want my daily Bible reading notes unless I could persuade each member of the team to take it in turns to write our own each day.
I would find it hard to leave behind my favourite book of Blessings-Benedictus by John O’Donohue. I discovered the importance of blessing each other through my sister.
Too, I want to bring my very first Prayer Time Book to remind me of my child hood faith and how sometimes a child is closer to the kingdom of God than the most learned.
Can I bring a candle?-sometimes I light a candle when doing daily tasks like washing up. It helps me when i can’t pray in words and makes even an ordinary task a prayerful activity.
I want to bring bread and wine (non-alcoholic for some) to share in the Lord’s supper.
I want to bring water-fresh soft water from the hills to drink to refresh and hydrate me and remind me of the Living Water.
I also want music-secular and religious. I would like my favourite songs or pieces of both as they can all be used prayerfully.
I would like a radio or TV as I would not like to live in my own cocoon. I need to know what is happening on earth.
This wonderful contribution richly highlights the question of “ritual”. Is there a positive benefit, a healthy aspect, to ritual? Yes, I believe there is. Ritual denotes routine and predictability. All of us have dealt with times of change in our lives. Change can be unsettling, even scary to some extent. Routines can add elements of stability, predictability, and comfort for us.
When it comes to religious practices, where we often look for comfort and stability in the first place, routines and ritual can be very dear to us.
Julia’s comments are wonderful because they point out a tremendous source of grace, love, joy, peace and comfort in our lives, as we invest time in practices we develop over a lifetime of prayer and closeness with God.
We’ve all taken part in creating rituals… whether for ourselves, for our children, for co-workers or friends. Patterns of behavior that make life stable and predictable. Mealtimes, bedtimes, beginning work, lunch, vacations, weekends… all these things.
Right, so if we grant that the presence of ritual may add to stability and a sense of “hominess” for colonists very far from home and the familiar… how do we make positive use of that comfort, without becoming slave to rules and routines beyond the mandates of grace and scripture?
Coffee, tea, and mocha poured. * Branching out these days *… Pie sliced. Whatcha think?