Serious Symbolism

The shallowness of Protestant rituals in modernity was the result of not taking them as seriously as possible. The need for a richer, deeper, more spiritual ritual in postmodernity will push Christians to regard each symbol with the utmost seriousness. To do this, we may need to move our rituals out from under the intense light of reason—which tries to analyze their contents—and treat them as artistic and poetic expressions that are meant to awaken the spirit and in [Evelyn] Underhill's words, "evoke the mysterious." Sometimes we need to allow our rational mind to be transcended by the presence of the holy.

Postmodern Christians already are revisiting the discarded sacraments, and we have much to gain by looking again for the sacred, worshipful aspects of marriage, repentance, and confirmation as a rite of passage. The nonrational element of rituals and ceremonies appeal to the postmodern soul. In rituals, doing is attached to believing—the Word of God is made tangible, ...

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