Without positive rituals we cannot hope to succeed. Rituals signal importance in our lives. Where there is ritual there is value and meaning. Rituals are disciplined patterns of thinking and acting that enhance our ability to respond to the forces of life in the most appropriate and meaningful way.
Black, E., and Roberts, J., Rituals of our times. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993.
Don’t be too easily convinced that God wants you to do all sorts of work you needn’t do. Each must do his duty in that state of life to which God had called him.
C. S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady
Nahum 1:3 (NIV)
3 His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.
Everyday, God has given us appointments and those appointments are to accomplish the things we are supposed to do. To accomplish this is not done in one big sweep. It is done one step at a time. Whether it would be reading, writing, singing, interceding through prayer, working out, or planning, it is something that must be developed. We hold evil things in check and we aspire through the ordinary things that we do. Life is walking three steps forward and two steps back.
There was a time that I watched a film and that was “The Croods”. It carries a theme that is outstorming a storm. When everybody were hiding in caves, there are some who would go out and “fly kites”. When some people encounter the sea, they begin to call it a barrier. But there are others who call the sea a highway. They make it a trading route.
Remember this quote: “We are all faced with a series of opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”
Among the characters of the film, there were two who stood out like two opposite poles. Grug, or Mr. Croods [father], along with his family survived the times through hiding in the caves. He kept his family safe but he also kept them from having a life. There was nothing new about them; nothing remarkable. They have kept their rules that the cave was the only safe place and that rule stood the test of time. When others perished, they remained.
But there was a change that was about to come. And as change was ushered in, so there were new rules. The old rules were no longer applicable in the new environment. What was thought to be steady for the past years was now shifting. The ground on which they are standing is being liquefied and the cave that is ought to protect them is not a safe place any longer. It will be the one that will crush them to death.
The only thing that will cause them to live on is that they will go hand in hand or even ride the very things that would have killed them during the time of the old rules. These are the tigers, the piranha birds, and so on.
It was at that point that they met Guy. It was not a hard thing for him to ride the waves of change. All of his ideas are a response to the changes that is happening: the belt, the slippers, and so on. The older man had a hard time coping up with the changes. Although he went with the change, which he was very reluctant about it, we find him continually resisting and competing with the one who was riding it. Eventually he understood that his greatest competition was himself.
I think the biggest stumbling block for the Grug is that is not willing to learn—he is afraid to unlearn the things he already has because by doing that he does not want to go out of his comfort Zone. It is comfortable to be in the cave. And there is uncertainty outside. But if he will be willing to respond accordingly he will find out that he could learn many things.
He was also afraid because he was intimidated by the suddenness of the change. It was something that he was not prepared for. Preparation takes time. It happens everyday.
That is why to ride the waves we must not our fingers to pontificate, we need to admit, “Hey, I don’t know that. Will you teach it to me?”
Instead of learning with our heads, we are to learn with our heads and hearts.
Instead of saying, “Take it from me,” we are to learn to say, “I see through a glass dimly.”
Instead of using the power and the mystery of the big words and big things, we need to learn that the power and mystery is in the small words and small things.
If we want to hold evil in check and pursue what is right, we are to take care of the small things and everyday deeds. We are to root ourselves in the present moment and be all there. Little by little, we will learn. That is why life is about walking THREE STEPS FORWARD AND TWO STEPS BACK. It is when we have learned to keep our everyday appointment with God that is when we see ourselves prepared to ride the storms.