Rituals and person’s life from birth through dying

Rituals and person’s life from birth through dying

Rituals are part of every person’s life from birth through dying. You need not be a person of “faith” (religion, belief) to lead a life that is given shape and form by everyday rituals.

Rituals are part of every person’s life from birth through dying

Rituals Rituals are part of every person’s life, from birth through dying. You need not be a person of “faith” (religion, belief) to lead a life that is given shape and form by everyday rituals.  Again, we turn to our dictionary to learn where the term came from, and what we find is that the English word ritual comes to us from the Latin rituals, which means rite. More about “rite” (as in “rites of passage”) will follow in our next assignment! Rituals connected with religion include the following: – lighting candles – sprinkling incense – standing or kneeling at certain, specified points in worship – holding hands – “Kiss of peace” (moment of greeting one another) – offering/collection – communion (sharing in eating or drinking “sacred” wafers, wine, etc.)

Where rituals are practised

Not all churches, temples or mosques practice all of these rituals at all times. But,  even the least orthodox faiths punctuate their communal worship with these activities. Individually, we tend to feel drawn to some of these types of practices. It may feel that others are not relevant, essential or useful. Okay, I hear those of you who have made it abundantly clear that you are NOT religious saying, “this doesn’t apply to me!” Church rituals may not apply to some of you, but our individual lives do have their own unique rituals.

Rituals give us security, predictability and allow us to operate on “automatic”. The more important things can claim the majority of our attention. Are any of the following rituals part of your life? Drinking coffee (or Mountain Dew!) to start the day. Listening to a certain radio or TV station while getting ready for work or school. Sitting in a certain place for meals. Kicking off our shoes, clicking on the TV or computer when we come through the door at the end of the day.  Hugs/kisses/”I love you’s” for our loved ones in the AM or at bedtime or when we go our separate ways. Without rituals, we would have to re-think how to organize our days, each and every day. Rituals make it easy for us to do what we need to do.

In places of worship

In churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship, rituals make it possible to break through the individual isolation of participants (who cross gender, economic, age, vocational, marital lines). To develop a sense of community, a feeling of one-ness within the faith and before the object of worship, God. Those who have participated in ordained parish leadership can offer first-hand testimony. Nothing may raise the ire of a congregation more quickly than a new minister who changes something (anything!) about the “order of service.”  Rituals matter. Judaism, one of the world’s oldest faiths, offers a full range of rituals. Some rituals are a rite of passage (more on that in the following assignment), while others are not. What easily distinguish a ritual from a rite of passage? This is an understanding that a rite of passage is one type of ritual.

For this week’s sacred space, we are looking for your own individual and unique creation of a ritual connected to that sacred space you are creating. How do you mark the transition from the “everyday” to the “sacred”? Rituals offer the opportunity to prepare one’s heart and soul to enter into sacred space, and some may choose to ring a bell, light a candle, etc. I can’t wait to see the ritual you’ll create! Ready, set…….go!

Now it’s your turn to look at the role of rituals and the faith of Judaism. READING ASSIGNMENT: O’Donnell, Kevin, Inside World Religions, pages 88-115. Part II – Research one of the following ritual practices: Brit Milah (Judaism), OR Exorcism (Christianity/Catholicism) OR Eucharist (Christianity/Catholicism), OR Last Rites (Catholicism).

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *