Recently I have had the privilege of sitting down to a meal with old friends. We do not get to see each other as often as we would like. When we are together our conversation flows in all directions! Past, present and future are notes within the conversation, not the focus. Certainties and doubts easily mingle in a dialogue of hope. I know I am better because of our friendship. The ritual of coming together and experiencing the presence of the Other is a powerful reminder of why we are friends.
Often I find myself rediscovering a ritual. The fact that I regularly experienced something in the past rarely tells the story. Age is no deterrent to distraction. Something useful and beneficial may be put aside in the chaos of living. The pressing of the immediate pushes the rituals that sustain us to the side. In time, I forget about them. The power of the experience drifts into a memory that is filed in a place I rarely go.
I am reminded by experience that when two celebrate the ritual of friendships over a meal we are sustain in our hearts, minds, and body. My mind drifts to other rituals that I have misplaced with time. Each has a role in nurturing hope in my life. Each uniquely fills a space that is otherwise a void. There is no punishment for forgetting. There are simply lost opportunities.
A wisdom father captured his feelings on an important ritual. “Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you.” (1 Corinthians 11.23) As I watched a communion service unfold, I was reminded of taking the rituals into my heart.
Each day will have opportunities to embrace rituals in remembering and celebrating what is important. They are useful links to the past, future, and present. Rituals can be an opportunity to experience God’s touch in our lives. I will act on this reminder.