Topic: The power of ritual
For a long time now I have felt that there is something that we as Christian laity are missing in our Religious life.
Here are some thoughts on the Private Ritual for the Christian .
Ritual is mostly confined to the church assembly.
Roman Catholic and Orthodox (Eastern, Greek , Russian et al) offer private ritual in the form of rosary beads for prayer; lighting a candle and/or incense
Protestant churches don't offer guidance or encouragement for private rituals beyond saying grace at mealtimes and prayer and meditation.
The purpose for ritual -
Ritual is the 'active vehicle' we use to allow spirituality to manifest into our everyday world.
Without the form of ritual we are floundering around, ever changing our focus in prayer and our religious life.
Ritual in the established church is in maintaining the traditional forms of the early church, ie the sacraments, worship, adoration, praise, prayer, supplication, healing et al. These rituals came out of Judaism and were developed and practised before the New Testament was written, therefore very valuable in helping us to know what rituals the early Christians used.
In today's Church, Ritual is performed by ordained ministers and a few laity, while the rest of the congregation join in the prayers, hymns of praise, and partake of the Sacrament. In their own individual lives Spiritual Ritual usually plays no part.
Scriptual basis for individual ritual.
The scriptual basis for individual ritual is Exodus 12 , the institution of the passover meal; Remember the instructions were for the head of each family to perform the ceremony of what became the passover meal.
1 Corinthians 12 , St Paul wrote “gifts of the spirit to all christians, healing, prophesies, working miracles... diversities of activities ...the manisfestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all... distributing to each one individually as He wills...”
The expectation of the first christians was to perform miracles by taking the initiative themselves, under the power of the Holy Spirit, to heal the sick, cast out demons etc.
Being mostly Jewish, they would know ritual as an individual in their own homes, as even today religious Jews practice leading their family in psalms, prayers and the various celebrations.
The need for private ritual for the laity.
When I experimented with using a set ritual for private prayer and intercession, adoration, praise . I found, that in having to remember the form of the ritual, I became less self -concious and innocently aware of the presence of Warmth, Love and Holiness, an acceptance of what I was doing is right and should be continued.
An important aspect, which I had neglected in prayer, is the actual taking of responsibilty to cause good things to happen, this is not leaving everything up to our supplications and prayers, but making things happen through our intent, through our private rituals. This sounds a lot like magic, but the difference is in the including and invitation of the Guardian Angels and Holy Spirit into the circle. We have a number of incidents in the early church where Christians took responsibilty to change things spiritually in a result of prayer.
There is one healing that St Paul did by proxy through the blessing of a handkerchief taken to the sick person.
For an example of private ritual,see my webpage http://sirius3.angelfire.com
This Ritual has been gradually evolving from a celtic beginning to a Christian worship ritual, and is still evolving, as I am encouraged to change with actual practice and God's prompting.
My Web page