What is your fascination with ritual and liturgy? I am often asked that question by people at the end of a 30 minute discussion. I inevitably end up talking about the historic reasons why people act or do the things they do. Yesterday picking the children back up from their mom our youngest was screaming because she did not want to leave her mom because she does not see her mom most of the time when she lives with her because she leaves the children with their grandmother. So as we were pulling out of the police station she starts screaming and whaling. For someone who has never heard a four year old scream and cry, you are lucky. Its ear piercing. I started to wonder if my ears were bleeding. Anyway, I turned on evening prayer since it was almost 20:00. Within minutes she was silent. By the end of the 20 minute ritual she was asleep and peaceful. It is that exact reason why I am fascinated with ritual and liturgy. It can take an uncontrollable four year screaming girl and silence them. The power it has over us without us not even knowing or understanding it is beautiful. It also has taken our son, who suffers from ADD and within moments of sitting in church for mass on Sunday morning after forgetting to take his medication can be calm for an hour.
Morrison discusses about the ritual of song and eating in the Blue Lodge in freemasonry. How that the celebration of looking “into a man’s soul and celebrated all the hidden things that made him good” (p.g. 57) The celebration of the definition and what defines a man. A place where a man could be himself without being judged by his expression of being a man. This begs for the question can ritual be specifically defined to only “speak to a man” and not to a women? The ritual addresses a basic need that has always been addressed in society in one form or another through the ages. Do women need different rituals than man to satisfy that need? The celebration of defining the true essence of a man is the essence of fraternities. While liturgy addresses the human need of defining and celebrating a common god. In the Christian church in America we have divided ourselves based on service styles, stance on social issues, and how to celebrate the sacraments, just to name a few. In the move Jesus Camp a small child discuss about a godless church. A place where sacraments are performed but there is no spirit in the church. The concept is interested does a godless church have a true ritual or liturgy going on? Maybe it only speaks to certain individuals. As the Bible says:
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 9-10 KJV)
God does not seek division among his worshipers. Therefore why do we separate ourselves? Is that our sin as a Church and followers of Christ? That we separate ourselves to fulfill our earthy desires? Freemasonry is full of separation from various degrees to definitions of who and who cannot be admitted into the organizations. The basis of the ritual for masons are the same in the Blue Lodge. Can you imagine a large stadium full of master masons performing an entered apprentice degree? Can you imagine a stadium full of Christians from every denomination performing Holy Communion? The power that experience of performing the ritual. If a recording can silence a four year old imagine the power a community could have by uniting to perform ritual in the same way. Yet we still sit in half empty pews in church wondering where everyone is and if we can ever get back to full lodge rooms again.
O LORD, our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day; Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings, being ordered by thy governance, may be righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morrison, H. (2012). “Making Degenerates into Men” by Doing Shots, Breaking Plates, and Embracing Brothers in Eighteenth-Century Freemasonry. Journal of Social History, shs026.