Principle 4: Keep it the same then add variance
One of the things about a ritual is that it needs to be repeated. In some ways, it’s better to have one simple, short thing which you repeat than something long and complex which you only do once as somehow in the repetition we find depth and richness we don’t find the first time. Or even the first 20 times! We’ve also found it’s fun to find ways to take Shabbat with us when we’re away—we’ve even done it on a plane, although not with real candles! Once you’ve repeated your ritual lots of times, it’s fun to find ways to adapt it, making it accessible to whoever’s involved.
Read this poem from Psalm 127:
If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap. It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves? Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.
This blessing is a wonderful way to remind everyone including the children that they are a blessing and a gift from God. (If you want to learn more about the power of the parents’ blessing, read SHAPING YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE THROUGH THE WORDS YOU SPEAK.)
Say or sing this blessing from Numbers:
God bless you and keep you; God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper.
Thank You, God, for this food and we ask that Shalom, Your peace-filled completeness, will fill our hearts and our lives.
Finish by repeating this traditional Hebrew Sabbath blessing:
Principle 5: Use Bible verses to capture things you want to say
Using words from the Bible in rituals is a fantastic way of remembering Bible verses and using them to inform our family understanding of the world.
A few questions for you as you consider how you might use rituals in your faith at home:
- What rituals do your family do?
- What physical symbols do you use?
- What else might you infuse with meaning?
- What do you do to make sure your rituals are accessible to everyone present?
- Do you need to keep repeating your ritual or adapt it to your family circumstances?
- What Bible verses could you use to enhance your rituals?
This article originally appeared here.