What makes ceremonies special?

Reverend Barbara Smith weds Vanessa Fehr and Patrick Zangardi on Jan. 21, 2012, at Unity Spiritual Center.

Even with our hectic lives, most of us find time for significant ceremonies.

Weddings, graduations, christenings, memorials, civil unions, birthdays and other rituals in our lives makes us stop and think about what is important to us as human beings. Many ceremonies are short, followed by merriment that goes on much longer. Yet we know in our hearts that the ceremony is still the cake, and the party to follow is the icing, for without the substance that the words and power of the ceremony provide, we have only unsatisfying fluff.

It's usually the ceremony, not the hoopla afterward, that brings tears to the eyes, because a well done ceremony touches the heart.  During the ceremony most of us are totally present and focused, instead of multi-tasking in thought and action like we normally do.  In a ceremony, we stand as witnesses to people we care about who are being celebrated, supported or remembered. We allow life to slow down for a few minutes so we can hear what is being said and think and feel about what is meaningful to us.

Weddings are events that often cost thousands of dollars and require hours of orchestration, but years later it is the photo of the couple looking into each other's eyes or holding hands, or the video of the vows spoken, that moves people. It's rarely the memory of the party.

Words spoken by the people being honored by the ceremony, and by the minister, priest, rabbi or host are chosen and spoken carefully, whether they are original or traditional. What we say out loud in the presence of others matters. Even if the precise words aren't recalled, the meaning and feeling are remembered.

Unity teaches that thoughts and spoken words have power. For over 100 years, a saying that "thoughts held in mind, reproduce after their kind, and out-picture on the screen of life" has been pondered by people on a spiritual path whose lives have been touched by Unity. Thus our church, Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake, and the Unity movement value ceremonies where the words are never rote but are prepared and spoken with attention to what is brought into manifestation. For more Unity philosophy or ceremonies go to www.unityspiritualcenter.com.

When you're invited to a ceremony this season, whether it's a garden wedding at Unity in Westlake, a wedding in a Cleveland cathedral, a simple memorial at a funeral home, the birthday of a cherished grandparent, or a long graduation commencement,  give the gift of your totally focused presence and you will be as enriched as the loved ones you are honoring.

Terri Zajac

I am the volunteer Marketing Director for Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 9:52 AM, 05.29.2013