The church and ritual are brothers, they are of one coin and of same side, non can tell who is the eldest. (Ikoromasoma, Emmanuel 2018).
There are plethora of reasons why the 21st century Christians don’t go to church and some of these reasons sounds absurd but in its absurdity lies the truth. In the words of Paul Silvernus and I quote; The church is in my mind and not the conventional structure it is portrayed to be! According to Frank Bright, The church can not bring me Salvation! In the words of Dr. Lawrence Nweke and I quote; I don’t go to church because I don’t want to be judged first when judgement starts. Some have gone to the extent of asking, What is going to church, when our actions outside the church doesn’t tell we are Christians? This question tend to support the claims of the renown Human Right Activist Mahatma Ghandi, when he said and I quote; I love your Christ because he has a good life and his teaching are good. But I dislike your Christians because they don’t posses the ways of your Christ.
It is obvious or glaring that, peoples from different walks of life pose several reasons why going to church to them is a Sacrilege but the church being Ritual isn’t one of them. This assertion would pose these critical questions. Is the church really a ritual? And what makes the church a ritual?
Of course, yes, the church is a ritual and will always remain a ritual. I know many of you would want to bury me even before am dead, some of you would want to crucify me for telling you the truth, but it is a normal phenomenon because, even Christ was killed for telling the truth, so who am I? It would be a taboo for depriving you of the truth when I know I would still die if I say a lie. In Dino Malaye’s words, if I tell lies, I die! If I say the truth, I die! I rather tell the truth and die! I repeat the church is a ritual and as a ritual, it contains elements of drama.
The church is a theatre where rituals are performed and we are the audience cut by the thrilling performances of actors in different mask. (Ikoromasoma, Emmanuel 2018).
Rituals according to oxford dictionary; Is a religious ceremony consisting of series of actions performed according to prescribed order. Cambridge dictionary; it is a set of fixes actions and sometimes words performed regularly especially as part of a ceremony. It could also be seen as a sequence of activities involving gestures, words and objects performed in a sequestered place. The church is a ritual because, it poses elements of rituals. The question now is, what are the elements of rituals?
The elements of rituals includes; Chorus, Chants, Sacrifice, Spectacle, Sacred ground, Sequence, Script, Actor and Director etc. this elements are explained below for better understanding.
Chorus: This is a part of ritual. It deals with a group of singers and dancers in any religious festival. A typical example of the Chorus in church is the Choir and the Band.
Chant: this is another element of ritual. They are those words mostly sung in a language only the spirit understands. In church it takes the form of Speaking in Tongue. They are highly spirited.
Sacrifice: This element is complicating because whenever we hear sacrifice our minds go to evil. It is the process of giving something in return for something. In the church our sacrifices are our tithes, offerings, donations etc. we tend to do this in return for Gods blessings.
Spectacle: Every ritual must posse a degree of spectacle that has the ability to attract attention in an unusual way. This could take the form of dance, costumes, makeups, the scenery of the alter etc.
Sacred ground: this is the platform where the performer stand. It is either called a shrine or the alter. In Latin we address it as the Santum Sanctorium.
Sequence: The sequential nature of rituals can not be overemphasized because it involve chronologically set of activities that are done sometimes daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. It follows a plot, climax to its resolution.
Script: It is any written text or document sometimes with power. This element is vital, as it could also be traced back to the 534bc in the rituals of Dyanisus, the Greek God of wine. Thepis who happens to be the first actor and a priest of the ritual of dyanisus made use of script along with his chorus. This is seen also in church as the Bible and hymes.
Actor: This is an important factor. The divine head is usually the lead actor. This is one whom the spirit speaks through. He becomes the mouth piece.
Director: This work wouldn’t have been complete without the acknowledgment of this element. The director is the Holy Spirit, some see him as the deity. This is the one behind what you see as the ritual or church.
The question is, can you take these ingredients off the church? If no, then you would agree with me, the church is ritual and as a ritual it is usually dramatic and as I earlier said, The church and rituals are brothers, they are of one coin and of same side, non can tell who is the eldest!
Written by: Ikoromasoma, Emmanuel
Ikoro’s Mindset: There is no church that isn’t a ritual.
I am from Rivers State and a native of Okirika. I attended New Era Brilliant College Borikiri, graduated of Rivers State University Port Harcourt were i studied Office and Information Management. I did a certificate program in Uniport in the Department of Theatre and film Studies. I love writing, dancing, and sport. I fell in love with poetry in my secondary school days and ever since poetry has changed my life.
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