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[Jesus] took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” –Mark 14:22
We think about rituals as static events. Yet in fact, most of them evolve to retain their relevance and freshness for ongoing generations. Take holiday rituals. The Thanksgiving table may include recipes your great-great-grandmother once prepared. But it may also include a dish your newest son-in-law always enjoyed with his family. Timeworn Christmas tree decorations share space with souvenirs picked up during last year’s vacation. Family reunions always involved hot dogs on the grill. Now they make room for veggie skewers too.
The liturgies we celebrate in church are the same: ever ancient, ever new. Some of the hymns we sing were written within the decade, and others may be in Latin. Gestures and postures taken by Christians down through the centuries appear side by side with female altar servers and lay lectors. So Jesus once took the ancient ritual of breaking bread and sharing wine at Passover and inaugurated a new and everlasting covenant for the forgiveness of sin. Ritual is life!
How have your most-repeated rituals evolved across your lifetime? How have they stayed the same?
Image credit: P.RAZZO/CIRIC