Ritual, n: an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner.
My life is built around habits and established rhythms that order my dancing steps. Rituals. Set ways of doing things; a framework for the tapestry of living. In part, my personality influences this love of form and ritual, but I also believe that ritual has been prescribed by God in His Word and set in the tradition of the early Church as a way of ordering our lives around Him in the rhythm of obedience.
The Old Testament is built on the Mosaic Law - a complex blueprint for life as a member of covenant Israel. Feasts to be observed and sacrifices to be given on certain days, all in a "set precise manner" as a way of remembering what the Lord has done and is doing for His people. Ritual.
Blessing falls when God's people obey God's Law, and the consequences are great when His people play the whore and adulterate themselves to idols of various kinds.
With Jesus comes a new covenant, one in which Jesus "fulfills the Law." His life sets a new example for living, no longer based around the sacrifice of bulls and goats, but built on the foundation of His own person. And the people called His "Body" set their clocks to beat in time with His heart. Ritual.
Because He came that we might have life and have it to the full, and we miss out on so much when our lives are not centered around the One who redeemed them.
I've been experiencing difficulty as I try to decide how to organize this topic, so that it is manageable and divided into digestible posts. I plan to follow the simple outline below, but there is a definite possibility that it may look a bit different when I actually write it.
Yearly Rhythm of the Church
Looking forward to exploring "the traditions we have been taught" (2 Thess 2:15).