“Human presence is a creative and turbulent sacrament, a visible sign of invisible grace”. John O'Donohue

Monday, 20 August 2012

Ceremony

It was a time for ceremony this weekend. On Saturday I found myself as wreath bearer at Lanark's Wallace Day ceremony. Completely by accident. I offered to carry the wreath for my Uncle Bob, who was worried about losing the flowers which were on short stems. Perhaps he felt a woman was more suited to the job? I expected someone to take the flowers from me when we reached the memorial stone, but nobody did, and I ended up laying the flowers myself.

My sense of ceremony, and theatre, allowed me happily to rise to the occasion.

And then on Sunday, I attended a baby naming and blessing ceremony which I was helping to conduct with my dear friends Siusaidh and Piet Ceanadach. It was a privilege to share this joyful and intimate event with the family and friends of the little boy.

Ceremony and ritual are very important parts of people's lives. The ability to mark, in some meaningful way, life's important events, milestones and rights of passage. Even when people move away from organised religion, that need remains. For me, it is about marking and acknowledging that there is a spiritual dimension to human experience. Although there are civil and humanist ceremonies available now for people who wish to mark occasions in a secular way, my experience of these is that they are nice, but lacking in that acknoweledgment.

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