Weekly Thought – July 26, 2016
Fred’s ability to distill information into memorable wisdom bites. Most people who knew him quickly remember beneficial phrases. He called them “one-liners.” We now call them “Fred Saids.” This week’s thought features one of those well-known pithy statements: ritual versus reality.
Uncovering the Meaning
I recently had an interesting discussion about ritual versus reality, recognizing ritual was originally established to perpetuate reality. However, we humans have a tendency to keep the ritual and let the reality slip away. Theologically, this may be a subtle attempt on our part to put ourselves in control of what is actually divine.
When we do this, we feel free to augment the ritual to please ourselves. This way we can make the ritual so elaborate that it becomes what we would want it to be if we were God… not bearing much resemblance to the sandals and seamless robe exemplified by Jesus.
Often I have asked husbands if they still kiss their wives as they leave for work. Almost indignantly, they will say “yes, of course.” I usually then ask them if they have ever considered the difference between the first kiss on the honeymoon, and the one they now give each morning. The first one was probably a pretty mushy one – even a double dip! The husband might have even thought about calling in sick! Now his wife gets a little peck as he hurries through the door on the way to the car. Occasionally, they may even miss, but at least they tried – and the ritual goes on, while the reality suffers.
Then we ask: “Should vacant ritual be discarded?” Not at all. We need, instead, to return the reality to the ritual.
When I was chairman of the Youth for Christ board I asked a young man why they were trying to destroy the traditions of the church with contemporary music and casual dress. He replied, “Mr. Smith, we are not trying to destroy the traditions of the faith, but we’re not willing to perpetuate them without the experience that created them.”
Excellent answer and well said. Let’s uncover the ritual to discover the reality.
This week think about: 1) What rituals have I bought into and lost the reality? 2) How can I bring more meaning to my daily activities? 3) When does status quo hinder fellowship?
Words of Wisdom: “We humans have a tendency to keep the ritual and let the reality slip away.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8 NET Bible)