Identity Formation in Ritual

This article looks at the need to utilize ritual in mission work. But I also have begun to wonder what role ritual should play in the church. We see traditions in traditional churches, and we see ancient spiritual disciplines being utilized in emerging churches. I do not believe anybody would say that this reaching into the past to help us reach into the future is a negative action that we are participating in. This is important to just about everybody . . . we all want to feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves. And rituals remind us that many people have done this thing that we are doing many times before us, and if God allows, for many years to come. This article may not interest many outside of church or mission work but I do think that it teaches about ritual in a way that would benefit anybody who attends a church. What follows is a short excerpt:

There is a profound union between what is done in ritual and how faith is lived outside the ritual context, but in the ritual context identity and mission are given content and form. The work of ritual is done slowly, gradually. It is the nature of ritual that it is repetitive and regular. It is ordered to give a sense of security and stability. In religious terms participants are learning through the performance of ritual, they are playing at what it really means to be members of the body of Christ.

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