I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise….” Psm 138:1
Rituals are an integral part of our collective lives. In our faith community think of weddings, funerals, baptisms, Christmas, Easter, Sundays Church (in person or digital). Think of the rituals that mark the passage of time: birthdays, anniversaries, …. In our collective society think of Thanksgiving, the Brant festival, Canada Day, New Years. Ritual is built into all aspects of life. It grounds us, deepens our values and commitment, opens us to the sacred, to community, and motivates us.
Rituals also help us negotiate the different and often difficult passages of life by freeing us to move on, to reconnect with our whole selves and others. Rituals of intentional transition acknowledge where we have been, who we are, where we want Christ to take us – new beginnings, new hopes - so we sing lustily with the Psalmist, I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart.
God speaks to us through daily events, so every phase of life, every obstacle, every blessing, every milestone and transition is an opportunity to listen to the Holy Spirit’s call to follow: no matter who you are, no matter what has already happened to you, no matter what you have done, it is still possible to be and do something new. With transformation comes healing and wholeness. It's as if they had been waiting in the wings all along, until you made room for them in your heart. The refusal to admit change in our lives is a major obstacle to transformation. We cling tenaciously to our habitual ways of doing things, thinking they are our only choices. We may resist anything new or different through indecisiveness. We waver, going back and forth between fear and doubt.
Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved with the same level of consciousness that created it.” Are you stuck in old, unwanted behaviour? Christ invites us to use the constant and everchanging moments of our life to respond to God and the call of the Holy Spirit in with our whole heart.
Here are some simple ways to open yourself to transformation:
• Watching ice melt into water is a cue for me to practice transformation
• When I witness the movement from sickness to health, I am reminded of the recuperative powers
• Looking at photographs of myself when I was younger, I vow to be happy with all the changes I have undergone.
• Look through your day and heart for what needs transformation and create your own ritual that frees your heart
New Year Prayer:
God of this new year, we are walking into mystery. We face the future, not knowing what the days and months will bring to us or how we will respond. Be love in us as we journey. May we welcome all who come our way. Deepen our faith to see all of life through your eyes. Fill us with hope and an abiding trust that you dwell in us amidst our joys and sorrows. Thank you for the treasure of our faith life. Thank you for the gift of being able to rise each day with the assurance of your walking through the day with us. God of this new year, we praise you. Amen. (Joyce Rupp)
New Year’s Blessing: May you awake each morning with thank you on your lips and in your heart, recognizing that all is gift, that all is blessing (Ps 138:1).
May your life this new year be a living legacy to your God.