Ritual

From Wayne Meeks:

Ritual is a condensed action that is intended to focus and concentrate meaning so that what is done in this nexus of sacred time and place ripples out onto all prior and subsequent doings, the doings that take place in the “profane” or outside world, resonating in those ordinary affairs with interpretive possibilities. When ritual is working, it helps us to make sense–a special kind of sense–of the other things we do. (The Origins of Christian Morality, 92)

This is a beautiful, succinct statement about ritual, one that has particular implications for sacraments in particular.

But, how do we do it? How do we allow the meaning of the moment of ritual to diffuse out into all of life?

The problem, it seems to me, is that we are too good at compartmentalizing. And, perhaps, the problem lies with those of us who are preachers and teachers, that we do not adequately infuse our rituals with meaning for them to have sufficient power to radiate out into the mundane.

What sorts of interpretive possibilities have rituals created for your world? What sorts of interpretive possibilities might our rituals create for us?

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