Following a conversation this morning, it really got me thinking about how so many people miss the symbolism in the ritual of the Church.
Lots of people, the majority even, attend church because they always have. They were born. They went to church with their parents. They were taught to be quiet and they were taught to follow along with appropriate responses to the prayers, and they were instructed on other rudimentary bits and pieces that are part of church attendance.
I don’t think enough people give thought to the symbolism behind every single thing that is done. It’s pretty darn amazing.
The Priest at our church, before preparation of the Eucharist most often reminds folks that the prayers that he is about to say are in the bulletin, but that even more importantly, they should watch what is about to take place.
Most people however still just follow along reading silently the words that the Priest is saying. Some stare absently out the stained glass windows, some are probably having some deep personal conversations with God.
I always watch. I love to watch the preparation of the Blood and Body of Christ. What starts out as bread and wine undergoes a transformational mystery.
I think many people just attend out of duty. It’s the right thing to do.
But Jesus did not teach with scripture. He spread the word through actions first and foremost, accompanied with parables and words of wisdom.
And as the Gospel of Philip states; “Truth did not come into this world naked, but it came in types and images”
Add into that the understanding by many, that our subconscious is best tapped into using symbols because that is what it understands, and we can easily see how empty a service can become when it is limited to scripture only.
Of course, there are some great Fire n Brimstone preachers out there. They can SCARE God into you. They are also usually pretty good at perpetuating guilt, exclusiveness, discrimination and the other lovely things that go along with that sort of preaching.
Scipture does not point to Scripture, as Fr.John stated Sunday. It points to Jesus. And to God.
The number one important thing is our relationship to God, and that is played out in our actions. How we celebrate God, is shown by how we celebrate one another. How we love God, and the Christ within, is shown by how we love ourselves.