Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ritual as a Key Element to the Church's Mission

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The loss of ritual due to Enlightenment rationalistic thinking has caused numerous problems of identity crisis in the Christian community. A return to a symbolic world view celebrated in the participated ritual life of Catholic Spirituality grounded in the history of the Church and her glorious symbols that are celebrated by the people will help to shape the mission community that we are to be seeking. Madge Kerecki puts it this way,
Both Catholics and Protestants, under the influence of the Enlightenment, have tended to reduce the presentation of the gospel to a rational or didactic event, thus underestimating the power of ritual and its profound effect on identity formation. Ritual is endemic to community life. In the Christian context it initiates people into the mystery of God since it works on the trans-rational level to generate wholeness. Ritual is repetitive and regular, allowing worshippers to play at (or rehearse) what it means to be the body of Christ in daily life. Ritual embodies and enacts myth through symbolic actions. It becomes a threshold experience which creates communitas. If missionaries and missiologists take ritual more seriously, our mission will be more holistic as the faith we proclaim and celebrate becomes the faith we live every day.
Rituals are a part of what and who we are as image bearers of God. To remove Christian rituals and symbolis from the liturgical life of the Church is to deny in essence who we are as humans created in the image of God.


Blogger Kevin D. Johnson said...

Yes. For these upcoming generations not moored to the Enlightenment like our fathers, ritual and liturgy are the Church's key to saving the upcoming generations. That plus a retelling of the history of the Church and we may find ourselves in a spot where we've wanted to be all along since the advent of the Reformation.

5:52 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Well, it will work out to our advantage as the rationalist end up burying what will become their own dead so to speak. I am convinced that God is doing a new thing and somehow it will create a new solid ecumenical move that will be grounded on truth and a vital ecclesiology of the three-fold office of Bishops, priests and deacons. That is the patristic way!

11:55 am  
Blogger J. Gordon Anderson said...

Good post. Ritual is sacramental too, and, like sacraments, fits perfectly within the scope of our "embodied" existence, and within the life of the church as a space-time entity.

1:29 pm  
Blogger Derek the ├ćnglican said...

Both Catholics and Protestants, under the influence of the Enlightenment, have tended to reduce the presentation of the gospel to a rational or didactic event, thus underestimating the power of ritual and its profound effect on identity formation.

One of the advantages of the Latin Mass and the east-wall altar--the congregation can't pretend it's all about them...

8:14 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hey Derek! I haven't heard from you in a while. I just noticed too that we have the exact same music taste! I saw the Cure in San Diego in 1989 or 90. Amazing! Good comment too by the way.


9:10 pm  
Blogger Derek the ├ćnglican said...

Very cool! Yes, I'm a huge Cure fan... We saw them two summers ago when they were promoting their latest. My wife hasn't missed one of their concerts since the late 80's...

10:01 pm  

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