Why do we need rituals? What do rituals do for us? What danger is there in ritual?
What distinguishes a religious ritual? “They go to use the service, or if you prefer, to enact it. Every service is a structure of acts and words through which we receive a sacrament, or repent, or supplicate, or adore. And it enables us to do these things best—if you like, it “works” best—when, through long familiarity, we don’t have to think about it. As long as you notice, and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.” C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm.
Good Ritual “For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent, he will set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies round about me; and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. “(Psalm 21:5-6) Bad Ritual "I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings, I will not accept them, and the peace offerings of your fatted beasts I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever- flowing stream.” (Amos 5:21-24)
Worship To worship something is to honor it, to give yourself to it. Does worship need to involve ritual? Do we always worship worthy objects? “But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” - Bob Dylan Do you agree with Dylan?
“Spiritual worship” “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 How should we worship God, according to Saint Paul? Can you think of ways that we bring the worship of our lives into the worship of the Church? How might this help you prepare to celebrate the Eucharist?
Liturgy Liturgy means “work of the people” the common prayer of the people of God Active participation is important—we come to church to give, not to consume Why is worshipping God in common so important to Christians? Who stands at the center of our worship?
Symbols True symbols don’t illustrate, they reveal: they open up a deeper, truer world to us—they are can bear multiple meanings at the same time.
Paschal Mystery: Symbol of Symbols “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” I Tim 3:16 “Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” Mystery in the New Testament means the hidden purposes of God as revealed to His people by faith. Paschal means the “passing over” from death to life, from sin to righteousness. God reconciling the world to himself through the life, death, resurrection and glorious return of Christ is the central mystery of our faith, which is praised and enacted at every worship service.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. We begin by acclaiming the Lord—not talking about ourselves. Berakah: classic Jewish prayer form—blessing God for his mighty acts. How has God established his kingdom? How do we show that we are members of his kingdom?