Today I heard Richard Rohr say that the difference between ritual and ceremony is that ritual lets in the darkness. It felt so true that for a few beats I could not breathe. He said that in ceremony there is praise and thanksgiving but there is no darkness allowed, no lamentation.
Like a fourth of July parade in which we only praise and give thanks for America without discussing or even referencing any of the dark bits like stealing native lands, incarcerating Japanese Americans or hoarding the world’s resources juts because we have the power and the systems to do so. Whereas in ritual, there can be wailing, weeping, an observance of darkness and even repentance. He said that often Holy Eucharist is ceremony for those who just go as a “thing one does” on Sundays; without thinking much about it. But that Holy Eucharist is ritual when one can see that drinking wine is also drinking the blood of all those who bleed and suffer, including us.
Last night I awake from a nightmare. We all have them. It was one of those dreams in which one awakens hoping it was a dream, relieved it was a dream and hoping such a dream never returns. it was dark and I took a long, hot shower to wash off the dream. And in my prayers I expressed anger at God about bad dreams, suggesting they were a bad idea. All I got was a smirk, which I found immensely annoying. But then, when I thought about it over scrambled eggs in sunlight I realized that if we can be honest with God and lament as much as we tweet divine requests at Him or Her, well, there is a relationship brewing rather than just God-as-celestial-butler.
So I am going to pay more attention to ceremony and to ritual and get a little more curious about them.