Rituals & Rhythms
Posted by Kim Stanley, October 3
I grew up in a church that celebrated liturgy and ritual. It was comforting, even as a young girl, to go to church every Sunday and know what to expect. I loved the songs we sang, and before I was old enough to participate myself, I was enamored with the Eucharist and Holy Communion.
Call it a holy curiosity, but I secretly studied everyone from my seat as they went up to receive the tiny little wafer and then reverently walked back to their pews, where they kneeled in silence. It was both mysterious and fascinating at the same time, and I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to be a part of it. When I finally became part of the church and officially could receive Communion myself, it was celebrated with my classmates at church, a new white dress, and a party with my family.
Fast forward to college years, and the mystery became monotony; the liturgy seemed lethargic.
My heart was unmoved by anything “religious.” I longed for a real experience with God, but church tasted flat.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s, married with one child and one on the way, that I understood by a revelation from the Holy Spirit, that I needed a heart transplant. Literally! God’s grace brought me to new life in Jesus, and my spirit came alive in Christ.
That holy curiosity now moves me to learn more about Jesus through His Word and more about His Kingdom through the Body of Christ. There is a time and place for ritual and liturgy. They are much more meaningful when our hearts are alive to the Spirit of the Living God.
We can lose our way sometimes when the ritual becomes routine and stale. When meeting together, or opening our Bibles, or singing, or praying becomes a checklist to make ourselves feel better, our faith can become lifeless instead of lifegiving.
The Holy Spirit waits to be invited into the mundane, the sameness, and longs to make our way full of Life, full of Himself.
The rituals can become rhythms of grace.
As we abide in His Presence, Jesus leads us to a beautiful table of fellowship with Himself and with each other.
The Table of Remembrance is where we experience true Communion with our Bridegroom and with the family of God. As we remember his broken body and shed blood for us, as we partake of it ourselves, we are re-membered to Him and to one another. We proclaim together, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!”
The table is set for you and me, friend. Our servant King is the host.
If you’ve lost the wonder, if you’re hungry for real bread, if you are longing for true communion with Christ and the church, there’s a seat for you here. His sufficient sacrifice and resurrection have provided for your place and mine at the table.
Let the rhythms of grace move us into greater intimacy with our Savior.
“As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then, he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, ‘Take this and eat it, for this is my body.’ And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, ‘Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.’ (Matthew 26:26-27) NLT
Kim Stanley is a worship leader, speaker, writer, and is the worship leader for Touching Hearts Ministries. She and her husband Joe have been in itinerant worship ministry for over 30 years. She is the founder and director of One Thing Worship, a retreat ministry for women that provides sacred time and space to be still and hear the voice of God. She also co-hosts a podcast called “A Burst Of Hope” with Martha Wilson. She and Joe have been married for 40 years; they have 4 grown children, one in heaven, and 6 grandchildren. They live in the south metro Atlanta area. You can connect with Kim on her website, www.joeandkimstanley.com, and on Facebook and Instagram @onethingworship.