A ritual is something that you do over and over again. Meaningful rituals are more than just habits such as brushing your teeth every night. A meaningful ritual is something that you do voluntarily over and over again, because it provides you with a sense of help, support, or comfort.
I’ll give you an example of a ritual that my religious community thinks is important. Every Sunday morning, close to the beginning of our worship service, we recite the Lord’s Prayer, out loud, together as a group.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
There is something helpful and comforting about reciting the Lord’s Prayer together. It affirms the foundational tenets of our daily faith journey. It reinforces our connection with the Sacred. And it reminds us that we are in this together, and we are not alone.
We are creatures of ritual. Perhaps you have your favorite rituals that you do every day, and you feel a bit off if you have to skip them. I think having rituals is a healthy thing. At a deep level, author Daniel Taylor argues that ritual is a vote against chaos and arbitrary death.
In other words, when we engage in the chosen repetition of an important ritual, we know what we are supposed to be doing, at least for a time. This process of engaging in ritual helps protect us against the difficult times in which we don’t know what we are doing, or what is going to happen to us.
Discussion: Think about your own life. What rituals are important to you? What do you find to be meaningful about engaging in those rituals? If you don’t have any rituals that you engage in on a regular basis, what do you think that is about? What is one step you could take toward implementing ritual into your daily life journey?