Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rituals and Family Traditions

It’s back to school time in my house. Even though my children are teenagers we continue to have the rituals of a new hair cut, something special to wear the first day of school, and a trip to the office supply store to gather the prescribed new notebooks and mechanical pencils. Another family tradition my children remain especially fond of is requesting that cookies be coming out of the oven as they walk in the door from their first day back to school. It can’t be a bag of their favorite store bought sandwich cookie or even a homemade cookie that was baked on a prior occasion and frozen for convenience (I am quite the freezer queen!) I believe it’s the act of the cookie that is coming directly from the oven that is symbolic of the warmth and security that they need to feel at the end of a day that is ushering them into a change in their norm. I must admit I love fulfilling this request but, it also makes me think about how important ritual and family traditions are and how this overlaps into the rhythm of the rituals in our Christian lives. These established procedures and routines also bring us comfort within the Church year. Gertrud Mueller Nelson writes that “Through rites we raise what is happening to us to a level of conscious awareness and in doing so we actively seek to be transformed.” Nelson wrote one of my favorite books on ritual and family tradition: To Dance With God.It has been available for several decades but its message and ideas are timeless. Pick up a copy to use within your own home, in your larger community or for a friend that needs encouragement that family ritual and celebrating the rhythm of the year is a wonderful connection to each other and the life of Christ. All of this thinking about celebrating has spilled over into Carrot Top Studio so we’ve added a “Colors of the Church year” stole to our collection. See it here!

I must leave you now...I think there is one cookie left...and I’m claiming it!


ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

Thanks for the book recommendation. I might get it. I'm currently making a stole that isn't a normal liturgical color, but it was ordered by my pastor. It is meant to be fun, so I hope people aren't offended.

Do you know how one would figure out what season a specific Sunday next spring would be in?

Carrot Top Studio said...

I love stoles that are unique! Would love to see your results when you finish.

Not sure which Sunday next spring your needs fall into...Lent (purple)starts Feb. 25th and is the focus until Easter (white)on April 12th. Easter in many denomations is actually a season--not just one Sunday--and is celebrated until Pentecost (red) on May 31st, 2009. Mainline Protestant denomations and the Catholic Church all maintain liturgical calendars on their websites. This type of information crops up in unlikely places also...a funeral director gave me one of his calendars one time and surprisingly it actually was marked liturgically with corresponding colors listed for each Sunday!