Rituals — actions done with presence and intention — tell our bodies and brains that something is about to begin or shift. They have the power to move us into a different frame of mind and openness of heart. Prayer before a meal is a ritual. So is celebrating a friend’s birthday with a party. Lighting a candle is a ritual.
Rituals that ground and nourish us can be connected to faith, but they don’t have to be. Rituals help us to care for ourselves, to remember that we matter. It is then easier and more authentic to extend that same care to the world that God loves so much.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God sees us, knows us, and has compassion for us. God proclaims, “I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15b-16a). Rituals help us slow down enough to hear the still, small voice of God’s love that is always within and around us. We are held in God’s love when times are calm and when they are chaotic.
This message is excerpted from “Rituals that ground and nourish us” by Jordan Miller-Stubbendick in the October 2020 Café online magazine.
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