Now, the weird thing is, I resist them but I rely on them, too. I am confident that I'm not absolutely crazy, partly through reading Gretchen Rubin's comments about paradoxes. One of Gretchen's Secrets of Adulthood is “The opposite of a great truth is also true”. So, she argues, you can do a lot of good by resolving, for example, to: "Take myself less seriously—and take myself more seriously". I think you can see where she's coming from. So here comes my paradox:
I am a non-conformist who relies on routines and rituals.
There. Said it!
What do I mean? Well, routines help me keep the house tidy, the family clothed, my lessons prepared on time etc. Self-evident.
Rituals are more of a challenge, perhaps. As I said before, I learned to put words like 'empty' and 'meaningless' in front of the word 'ritual'.
But what if a ritual isn't empty or meaningless?
What if, in my free-form Bible study and our free-form worship at church (and boy, these French can do free-form) we only pick and choose the bits of the Bible we want to hear?
Isn't it easily done?
We have an almost weekly sermon from the letters of Saint Paul. Those are great teaching letters, so I can see why the various preachers go for them. But we don't hear many sermons on the Old Testament, which frankly requires a lot of explanation, or even on the Gospels, which are surely the base of our Christian faith.
I think a bit of discipline, in the form of (hush, whisper it) a lectionary to take us through the Bible bit by bit or even (gulp) some attention to the liturgy of the Church Calendar, would be a good thing in our non-conformist worship. And that's why I love Lent. The ritual brings order and discipline to my potentially self-centred, rather than Christ-centred, life.
PS The star of this post is the evening-scented flowering olive which I mentioned last week in my gratitude post!
PPS I'm linking to Spiritual Sundays.
PPPS Doing a PS is really bad from an English teacher's point of view, did you know that?
j PPPPS I'm going to be posting two posts a day starting tomorrow, assuming I get my act together. One will be a little snippet for Thrifty Week (see sidebar) and the other will be a daily prayer for our children. Last year I did a series FOR children in Holy Week. This year I'll be putting a bit of discipline into my Holy Week by praying for my children, and I hope that the prayers I write will be of some use to other parents too.