Pandora's Box

The Awe of a Ceremony

“The Ides of March” Series … Prompt #7: “Attending a Ceremony.”

The solemnity. The rituals. The traditions. The music. The common understanding of the depth of meaning behind it.

Ceremonies are a time to realize that you are a part of something so much bigger than yourself. I find them to be beautiful, moving, and oftentimes life-changing. Whether it’s the one where the bride walks in shining white down the aisle … the one where you pass the trays of grape juice and crackers from one hand silently to the next … the one where you remember a life with tears streaming down your face … the one of gathering hands around a table and bowing heads … or the one where I light the candle on my nightstand and kneel every morning to hear from God’s Word – they bind me in the most meaningful way to an understanding of who we are as human beings.

Not only were we made to celebrate with joy and delight, but we were also made to stand in reverent awe of significant moments in our lives and in history. We mark certain days on our calendar with a traditional ceremony – maybe by placing our hand on our heart as the national anthem is being played or maybe by carving a turkey and saying thank you. We say certain words that bind us to one another – “With this ring, I thee wed …” “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust …” “Do you swear to tell the truth …” “Buried with Him in baptism, raised to walk in newness of life …” And as the words are said, we mark yet another passage of ceremonious depth. Culturally, we know what those words mean and what the person saying them is now committing to.

Some people are against all the ceremonies and rituals and the words said again and again – they want to change it to be personalized and they want it to be meaningful. This I understand. If anything, I am always searching for meaningful experiences. But there’s something about the tradition of certain words and ways of doing things that makes it MORE meaningful to me than if I were to choose my own route of doing things. There’s a reason why they have stuck around for so long – because beauty comes in the common, recognized routine of a significant ceremony. When I say the words that thousands have said before me, I join with them in a mutual agreement – that yes, I, too, am going to commit to the same thing that they committed before me. I will choose to sacrifice for what is truly important. I will choose to live my life in a certain way. I will choose to give and forgive. And I will choose to step into the ring of trust as I say these words, do these actions, and complete the ceremony.

I believe that we humans weren’t the ones who first invented ceremonies. I think they come straight from God, because ultimately He is the One worth revering and being held in awe above anything or anyone else. And one day, we will have the ultimate ceremony to attend – the Marriage Feast of the Lamb – and if ever we felt the significance of a ceremony, I have a feeling it will be on that day. And oh, how beautiful it will be. Our souls will join together as one in common recognition and praise of our Savior and what He has done for us. And all the ceremonies into which we entered here on earth, meant to glorify Him will at last have their full meaning brought to fruition.

Let us till then be faithful in our remembrances – and keep the vigil of our ceremonies until that day.

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