Rituals like Easter, Passover add modern meaning to ancient beliefs

Published: Friday, March 29 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

As an example, Seddon said that in Episcopalianism, the original purpose of the sanctus bell was to tell the congregation that the bread and wine, which used to be blessed out of sight of the congregation, had been consecrated. But now the eucharist prayer is done in full view of the congregation.

"I see no reason for the bell, but you will run into people who have attached all kinds of meaning to it; something as simple as 'my grandmother donated those bells and it reminds me of her,'" he said.

It's in those situations that Seddon's background in archaeology and anthropology help him navigate between updating and leaving things alone.

"My job is to make ritual relevant to the here and now without tuning out the past, and being sensitive and aware of implicit or understood theology people place on things."

email: mbrown@desnews.com

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