So today I am going to start what I been mulling over for a couple of months talking about. I am going to dedicate some time every week to discuss an important topic in our lives. That topic is ritual. Ritual has been defined “as the flexible backbone of traditions and the clearest illustration of how we orient ourselves within the cosmos” according to Catherine Bell in Teaching Ritual (2007). Ritual is the outward performance of performing rites which like Bell’s description is the high point of traditions. Rites are traditions that are performed to move an individual or society forward through a physical act. In the Hispanic culture a young lady goes through a rite called a quinceañera. Its tradition and historical significance was the celebration of the young lady being ready for marriage. Today however it’s the equivalent of the traditional idea of a “sweet sixteen” party.
Often the use of the word liturgy and ritual are used interchangeably. However, the concept of liturgy is significantly different from ritual. While ritual is the outward expression of a rite. Liturgy is the performance of rites for religious purposes. Therefore, because the performance of rites is defined as ritual, liturgy is the performance of ritual for religious purposes. Ritual is often performed with civic organizations or through groups of individuals sharing a common thread. Several examples include the standing up in a court room when a judge enters, high school graduation, standing for the pledge of allegiance and voting. These acts are ritual based activities that everyday citizens perform. The act of respect and moving an individual from a traditional space to another elevated space. Liturgy being ritual include partaking of the sacrament, chanting, the separation of gender seating arrangements in temple, and vows of silence. These liturgy experiences are the outward manifestation of completing requirements set forth by a religious set of guidelines. The performance of completing the liturgy is set by faith of the individual that it moves them closer to the expectations of their god.
In the blog I will be focusing a lot on the Christian forth since I am an Anglican who believes in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church I often will be making ritual and liturgy discussions focus on what I have most knowledge in. However, that is not to say that I have not had experience in other liturgy throughout my life and will share those experiences when appropriate to the discussion. This week is holy week for all Christians. This week I started with Palm Sunday, yesterday was evening prayer. This was my first time doing an evening prayer service. The ritual was amazing. I also found some friends at church that like me crave the liturgy because of the calming nature of the ritual provides. I been told that millennial crave high ritual services but in all honesty the numbers point to millennials wanting an al la carte religion where they can be accepted and choosy. There are the few millennials who crave and expect a high liturgy service. I guess you could say I am one of those millennials.
So how much is my devotion and calling to high liturgical items? Today I took a chance and looked for church music on Pandora. So as we all know changing channels on Pandora is frustrating because it takes days to retrain the channel to play what you want. I have been getting classical music and modern day Christian music. I was hoping for old hymns like Amazing Grace, Holy Holy Holy, and maybe some churches doing compline service. But I am not getting what I want. So the training of the Pandora station for what I want begins. I might start doing better on a more specific keyword so I can get my ritual/liturgy 24/7 fix. Next week we will talk more about ritual and liturgy and its performance in todays society. Until then.
O Lord, open thou our lips.
And our mouth shall show forth thy praise.
O God, make speed to help us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.