Exodus 19: 10 (The Message)
GOD said to Moses, “Go to the people. For the next two days get these people ready to meet the Holy GOD. Have them scrub their clothes so that on the third day they’ll be fully prepared, because on the third day GOD will come down on Mount Sinai and make his presence known to all the people.” Exodus 19: 10 (The Message)
A Word of Hope
I miss religious rituals. I feel the loss especially as we go through a second Lent without many of them.
Oh, there are plenty of examples of ways in which we have overcome the loss, both in community and in solitude. But I would be dishonest to say these new ways strike the same emotional cords or speak to me the same as the old. The new ways are not better or worse just different and sometimes different is hard.
Our human spirit longs for ritual, I think. Both secular and spiritual rituals. Our lives are built around them. The biblical stories and historical accounts are full of rituals like those found in our assigned reading, Exodus 19: 9 – 15, which recalls the preparations the Israelites meticulously followed to prepare to meet with God.
I have been blessed to observe spiritual practices around the world. An ancestral homage in the Congo, silent Buddhist practices in Cambodia, Hindu chants in India, and a frigid Christmas Eve concert in Sainte-Chappelle.
Other experiences were much closer to home but no less moving. Singing around the campfire of church youth camp when 12 years old. A hike through Yosemite Valley. A visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington. Volunteering at the foodbank.
And sitting in the pew observing the stripping of the alter on Good Friday as the music rises and the lights dim.
I am emotional recalling these ritual moments.
Today’s scripture – in addition to prescribing rituals – reminds us that God meets us in these practices. Perhaps most often now in the mundane and routine. God longs to be with us. I need reminding that God meets me whenever, wherever, and however the opportunity arises. Even on Zoom.
God of my being. Meet me in the rituals of daily life.