Wondering Wednesdays: ritual needed?

paul's car goodbye

Last week we said goodbye to Paul’s car, it had been part of our lives since 2001 and we have lots of fond memories of using it during his Curacy in Aston.  I was a tiny bit tearful as it was towed away.  Last week I got a new phone and while it  may seem slightly crazy to mourn the loss of my blackberry there is a small sense of loss as I give up a phone I had come to know well for one that I am finding a little baffling!  I am just reflecting if a little ritual would have been helpful, at least with the car – perhaps not with the phone!  As I was processing that thought I came across this quotation from John O’Donohue in the middle of some notes:

With the demise of religion, many people are left stranded in a chasm of emptiness and doubt: without rituals to recognize, celebrate or negotiate the vital thresholds of their lives, the key crossings pass by, undistinguished from the mundane, everyday rituals of life.  This is where we need to retrieve and reawaken our capacity for blessing.

This to me suggests there is much opportunity for what Ann Morisy calls apt liturgy, churches facilitating blessing and other marker posts for significant times in people’s lives that don’t happen in the church building.  She talks about creating memories of the heart – ideas and images that can be pondered; enabling people to cope, especially when they are close to being overwhelmed by emotion; providing symbols or codes that ‘waft us heavenward’.  This is something that Paul spends a lot of time reflecting on in his job and if I see a gold padded heart it brings a tear to my eye!  This is perhaps another area I need to reflect on further and ask God to show me where I need to be bolder in offering apt liturgy.


John O’Donohue.  Benedictus a Book of Blessings London:  Bantam Press, 2007, p206.

Ann Morisy. Journeying Out. London: Continuum, 2004, p158.


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