Sunday Sharing -- Community, Identity, and Ritual
As a Pagan grad student at Cherry Hill Seminary, I spent my year of internship with The Shrine of Holy Wisdom in Tempe, Arizona. It is a unique place. It is a blessed place. From the Shrine’s website, “The Shrine refers to a sacred space into which one enters to reconnect in a very intimate way with the divine. Our intent is to assist the seeker in experiencing a deeper awareness of one’s Self as the Shrine wherein dwells the divine radiance. Holy Wisdom or ‘Hagia Sophia’ is the Divine Mother of all humanity that awakens in an individual the call to a mystical and magical relationship to all existence.”
It is through this emphasis on connection with the divine, however we may conceive of it, with each other, and with community in the broadest sense, that helped me to understand that in such a space as the Shrine, ritual liturgies are the vehicle--the means as it were--to bridge those connections for people. Rituals inspire and motivate us. We establish families and communities via ritual. In our lives, we go through transformations and commemorate major milestones. We express ourselves via joy and sadness, and most crucially, we construct and maintain our identities.
Previously, I've written about identity, about how we show up and walk our talk, whether in our families, professionally, and/or in the world at large. This is the fertile ground of inter-traditional ministry. Perhaps the most important aspect of this is the actual doing of it--putting our intentions into practice. Giving voice to what we believe, giving witness (using an inter-traditional word), to the truths we live by is important. It is worth doing. It is worth engaging with the wider world to say “We can work together to create a loving and sustainable future for all of us.”
Consider, if you will, what that future might look like.