Mary sat still, watching as people discussed the upcoming church fete. She wanted to suggest a new way of celebrating the church anniversary, but as one of the newest members of the church, she was scared to say anything that might offend the elders.
She had noticed that any time one of the young people made a suggestion for changing an aspect of worship, like the music, a standard answer was given, “That’s the way we have always done it.” Mary believed that phrase was one of the most destructive of phrases in the English language to the changes needed for churches to attract young people.
As the meeting progressed, plans were made for the same old things, the so-called rituals of the church. She knew that if she spoke up and reminded people that the Church was about relationships, not rituals, she would be ridiculed and maybe scorned.
When the meeting ended, she listened as other young people her age talked of never returning because their views were not heard or honored. As she walked home, she wept for her church, knowing that it could not continue without compromise, but rituals tend to stifle the willingness to compromise.
Written for Tale Weaver #221: Ritual.