Revisiting Ritual

Posted: February 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Yesterday, I received a thrilling text from a college student.  “What is that creed?  It popped into my head this morning for some reason, but I can’t remember it all and it’s bothering me.  Mainly the part about choosing joy over cynicism.”

Let me give the backstory.  During a discussion about discipleship in our strategic planning committee a couple of years ago, we talked about the value of ritually affirming as a community what we believe.  I was given the joyful task of formalizing our conversation and commitments into a ritual that has become a frequent part of our worship at my church.  We call it our Affirmation of Discipleship.  It goes like this:

“As fully committed followers of Christ, we receive the love and mercy of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit and we respond with grateful hearts.

By God’s grace, this week we choose again joy over cynicism, faith over unbelief, obedience over pride, and trust over fear.

As fully committed followers of Christ, we surrender to life transformation as we give ourselves to relationships, worship and mission.

We commit our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness to Him – not out of obligation, but out of a heart of loving obedience.

As fully committed followers of Christ, we are ambassadors of His love and grace. Our lives are not our own. We have been bought with a price. To God be the glory!”

If you want to dive in a little deeper, here are some theological concepts I tried to represent:

The internal movements: receive, respond, choose, surrender, give, commit, and be.

The beginning: God initiates.
The end: We give Him glory.

The choices: Fundamental issues of discipleship from Scripture as measured in the heart.
The surrender: Believing that our core programs create space for life transformation
The commitment: Our membership vows….as a heart response
Our identity: Shaped by Him and meaningless without Him.

I quickly emailed the entire creed to that college student, rejoicing in the embedded language that the Holy Spirit was using to inform the student’s heart and mind.  And then I sat down to read through it again for myself asking the Lord to make it true in my own life.

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