by J. R. Practix
Accoutrement: (n.) additional items of dress or equipment, or items carried or worn for a particular activity: the accoutrements of religious activity.
Isn’t it fascinating that the definition of accoutrements immediately goes to religion?
- What would we do if we didn’t have little knick-knacks to set on the table for our worship experience?
- What if there weren’t special hats?
- What if the robes were put into mothballs?
- What if the bread and wine were not actually symbolistic of the body and blood of Christ?
- What if for some reason there was a shortage of candles?
- What if pews were exchanged for bean bags?
Is it possible to have an experience of faith without having an open souvenir stand at the park of religion, where we pick up our memorabilia to confirm that “we went on a brief vacation with God?”
What if faith was really about loving one another? Do you need a cross for that?
What if belief in a Divine Creator was accentuated and exemplified by the expressions on our faces? Would that be better portrayed with sackcloth and ashes?
What if our actions were deemed just as valuable as our prayers? Would we need a kneeling rail?
If we removed all the accoutrements from the experiences of our lives, would they still be experiences–or do the doo-dads make us believe that it’s real?
- Could we have a God without the Bible?
- Could we have brotherhood without using a collection plate?
- And could we feel free from our sins without being immersed in water?
Symbolism is a wonderful process–IF it is a visual confirmation of what is obviously going on in our souls.
But it is just a lousy replacement for how we really feel.