I’ve gone to church my whole life. Mostly Protestant. I’ve attended a few Catholic services. I’d like to attend services in a synagogue and mosque. Why? Because there is nothing quite as comforting as the ritual of a worship service.
It’s changed a lot in my life time. Church clothes? A lot of the formality has stepped aside for comfort, come as you are to the cross, the alter, to your knees in prayer. God doesn’t really care about the rituals. But rituals aren’t there for Her. Rituals are for us humans. Rituals bring order to an otherwise unruly, ruthless, ridiculous world.
I thought of this tonight as I attended the Lenten prayer service. Lent. The ultimate ritual in the Christian calendar. I haven’t been that observant this year. But on Wednesdays we attend before confirmation, I’m reminded as I sit in the darkened room. Surrounded by other seekers. Surrounded in prayer.
This year, we are invited to light candles in prayer. We are invited to bless ourselves with holy water (have you ever watched a Protestant attempt the sign of the cross? I’m sure God got a kick out of it). And after I lit candles for friends with bigger prayers than I have. After I attempted to bless myself. I cried. I couldn’t help the tears. The comfort washed over me. The knowledge that there is someone bigger than me to watch over us. To heal us. In Her way (which quite frankly sucks sometimes). But all those things I cannot control? I don’t have to sweat.
This does not absolve me of action. There is work to do. But tonight, there are candles and holy water and prayer. Tonight, I take comfort in these rituals and am thankful. Am blessed.