In one of my classes (Core 399: Calling, Task, and Culture—the senior exit class everyone is required to take) this year, we have been talking about the power of habits in our lives, and how habits are a sort of ritual, and rituals are a sort of liturgy that tell us about ourselves, both reflecting and shaping us.
These rituals are not just the intentional things we do, like wearing the same pair of socks for every game, or having devotions at the same time every day, although these are certainly included. They are also the unthinking things we do, like sitting in the same seat in the class every day or Snapping that one friend every time you hear a movie quote. Although it may not seem like it, these habits are rituals that are part of who we are.
So, we as individuals have rituals. That got me thinking that it isn’t such a stretch to see that groups of people could also have rituals that groups of people could also have rituals that shape them. A community like Dordt certainly does:
In between classes, students walking on the sidewalks smile and wave at each other as they pass. Others hang around Jacob’s ladder in the Science building, looking for their other friends whom they know will also be there at that time.
On Thursdays nights, just before 10:00, there is a kind of exodus from all the dorms and apartments and the library as many students head to the Grille area for Praise and Worship.
During Volleyball and basketball games, students fill a section of the bleachers and then stand in support of their teams.
On warm days, students play campus golf. On cold games, students building-hop. On Friday, students go on donut-runs.
In Covey, wings gather in the lobby for a pancake night or a Bible study. In Kuyper, people chatter and study in 55th. In the library, “study” groups form to socialize.
There are an endless number of other rituals I could name, all habits of our community that people participate in to varying degrees, but that we have come to expect and that are a part of who we are and who Dordt is.