Ode to Ritual and Ceremony
I have not experienced much ritual or ceremony in my life. Yes, there were the periodic graduations, the weddings and the occasional attendance at a religious ceremony. But, not really anything much for which my breast swelled and my eyes teared up. The events of the past week made me realize that I was poorer for missing out on such opportunities.
I had friends that regularly attended mass, wouldn’t miss a holiday ritual and marked their calendars boldly and early for events like christenings and baptisms. They seemed to get a lot out of those events, but I couldn’t understand the attraction. Perhaps it was because my childhood church looked down on ritual and thought ceremony to be pompous.
But as I watched the inauguration celebration last Wednesday, my heart welled up in my throat and I was continually wiping my eyes to dry them. It wasn’t a newly found love of country, nor a response to a great show, though both of those were true. Profoundly, I had discovered my ability to mark something significant…a virtual rite of passage for me.
So, as I heard the fanfares, the drum rolls and the songs that punctuated a peaceful transfer of power for our democracy, I cried. My evolving life has brought me to a point where I can truly celebrate what is important and that makes me happy. It also makes me ponder why I was loath to celebrate before. Never mind, I’ll look for ways to do so in the future. If it’s important, I am on it!
Let it Begin with Me
I am writing this as we celebrate the holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, as the pre-eminent figure of our time who advocated and practiced non-violence as a way to effect change in our world. King was a student of Gandhi, though the two never met, as MLK was only 19 when Gandhi was assassinated. Both changed the world, and that change commenced as they chose peacemaking as a way to live. I like to think that they opted for peace, not only in what they did, but also in what they thought and what they spoke.
That is the way of living in this world that I choose, and I begin with my thought. I have the power to choose my thoughts, and with some practice, I am learning to do that positively. For me this means withholding judgement (of everyone) as I try to put myself in their shoes. It’s not an easy discipline, but when I so choose, it is much easier to guide my speech and to direct my actions.
Our Unity community sings The Peace Song at the conclusion of our Sunday morning services, the last line of which is…”and let it begin with me.” So, if I would see a peaceful world, let it begin with me!
To Know and to Understand
R & R is a quite familiar abbreviation, particularly if you have served in the military. It stands for rest and relaxation. I like the abbreviation, but I’m assigning it a new meaning for a spiritual purpose. That meaning is Revelation and Reflection, the title of this blog.
Revelation, from a human perspective, is about knowing. It is my belief that a fullness of knowing is available to me, much more than I can imagine at the moment. That knowing comes, not from stacks of books by learned authors, or the profound teachings of a wise one, but from the depth of my own authentic self that connects with the divine in me, allowing Truth to be unveiled and thus revealed. In taking this approach, I open myself to insight and intuition, both utterly reliable, though I have not always valued them.Reflection is a serious consideration of truth that leads to understanding. Sometimes it mirrors something already in my awareness, and sometimes it takes the form of folding back a screen that has hidden something I have already known. It is a remembering of who I am and of the truth that lies deep in my soul.
Revelation and Reflection…to know and to understand. As I engage both of these, I find purpose…and an array of tools for navigating life.
Rev. Neal Worthington is the Minister at Unity of Payson.
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