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What is your 'favourite' religious service / celebration? How do you feel it develops and strengthens your faith?

(12 Posts)
Gingerdodger Mon 25-Mar-13 07:13:02

I realise 'favourite' is the wrong word but could not think of another. I say religious celebration or service because I am really interested in the answers from all faiths. The question was just triggered by the fact that my 'favourite' mass of the year is imminent.

I just love the mass (RC) on Holy Thursday which remembers the Last Supper. It is so beautiful, solemn and reflective, it usually reduces me to tears. It has a real emphasis on service, the priest washes the feet of some of the congregation and those attending wash each other's hands.

It strenthens my faith as it really brings home how Jesus made such a terrible sacrifice in such a gentle and humble way and the real communion of Christians. It also gives so much time for reflection. There is a period of 'watching' after mass before the Blessed Sacrament which just gives time to sit and think whilst in a very tangible presence of God.

worldgonecrazy Mon 25-Mar-13 09:40:17

I have to say handfastings/weddings. Which, as I'm a handfasting celebrant is probably a good thing. I just love the joy, emotion and feel-good factor of a wedding/marriage celebration. I love the way that people passing by will wish the couple well, how everyone will move mountains to ensure that the couple have a lovely day. Weddings really do bring out the best in our nature.

And in sad way, a good personal funeral service can be emotionally healing. I guess hard times are when I can see what I do making a real difference, and when I get a lot of my spiritual development, from helping other people find solace, comfort and healing. I took a funeral yesterday and I was reminded that my job, in summation, is to make people feel better, and funerals are probably the time when that is most apparent, even though they are incredibly hard to do.

WaynettaSlobsLover Mon 25-Mar-13 09:48:34

Eid is mine. Plenty of food, family and gifts after spending an entire month fasting and giving lots of charity. Nothing beats waking up on Eid to the beautiful dawn to pray, and the kids playing with balloons and glitter all over the floor smile then it's off to the mosque to pray outside with everyone and give the Eid greetings. Afterwards time to go home and join the family in a big dinner and more prayers. A beautiful magical time

The dawn service on Easter Day. Lighting the fire in the graveyard and going into a dark church by candlelight. Medatative service followed by fry up in the church hall. My current church don't do this so maybe next year....

DandyDan Mon 25-Mar-13 09:56:59

One of my favourite services in the whole year is the Maundy Thursday "Stripping of the Altars" service - sombre and reflective (we don't do a foot-washing) and the choir sings the first half of O Pange Linguam at the start of the service, and the second half of the verses at the end, when the Stripping of the Altars happens. That wrecks me every year. Just that hymn and the gradual reduction of what surrounds our worship to the bare bones of a home-made cross, formed by two short branches. The choir finish singing, the lights are turned off apart from a single light on the cross, and we go home in silence.

I also love Christmas Midnight - totally magical and atmospheric. Every year we would get the kids up from their beds - as babies, toddlers, youngsters and teens - and all go together as a family. Usually you get a good heavy-weight sermon that night (as opposed to something lighter in the morning).

Polyethyl Mon 25-Mar-13 10:09:23

Book of common prayer evensong. Because that's generally when you gdt the best eermons. The words of the service are beautiful and it is one of the few occasions when you sing tbe psalms.

Polyethyl Mon 25-Mar-13 10:17:37

And last night's choral evensong. Just because of the superb singing.

thegreatestMadHairDayinhistory Mon 25-Mar-13 16:07:40

Lovely idea for a thread!

I love loads, in different ways. I love the 'hour before the cross' on Good Friday, there is something so beautifully intimate and a depth in the silence, it floors me every time. Love Easter Sunday, the feeling of celebration, the singing of the victory hymns/songs (and ditto the dawn service!)

Also love all Christmas services, especially the crib service on Christmas Eve, with all the children dressed up and excitement in the air smile

My favourite celebrations are at places like New Wine/Soul Survivor, with thousands worshipping together - incredibly powerful.

nightlurker Mon 25-Mar-13 16:30:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gingerdodger Mon 25-Mar-13 19:07:34

I am loving these answers, even though many of them are triggering me to go 'me too, me me I love that one too'! grin

Eid just sounds amazing, joyous celebration preceded by sustained fasting. Would love to know more about Eid and what happens.

It's interesting how many of us have picked the sombre events but I suppose these are more our opportunities for thought and reflection and they are just so beautifully done. When I was reading Dandy's and Mad Day's posts about Holy Thursday and Good Friday I thought how what we feel on this occasions must be a tiny glimpse into how the followers of Jesus felt on those days, we know the joy to come. They must have felt completely confused, desperate and frightened. I wonder if they kept any hope.

Greenhearts dawn mass sounds wonderful. We have the Easter Vigil which also starts in the dark with a fire (and is my 2nd favourite mass of the year) but something so life affirming about celebrating this in the morning as the sun rises.

Then the real joyous events where we are able to sing our hearts out. Fabulous.

Then the ones world mentions that celebrate life's great events, weddings and funerals. I agree that funerals can be so sad but also cathartic and a great tribute and celebration for a loved one. My experience is that they can be also very joyous and being of a left footed persuasion we do know how to throw a good wake.

World I am going to a handfasting this year, looking forward to what will be a new experience for me.

Thanks for all these answers I am really, really enjoying reading these.

choirmum Mon 25-Mar-13 19:15:47

As the mum of one current and one ex cathedral chorister, I'm privileged to attend many beautiful services. I love choral evensong - the perfect antidote to an otherwise hectic week - and the Advent processions are deeply moving. However, there's so much more intimacy to our parish church services and as others have mentioned, the Holy Week and Easter services are special for me. We're having a Passover (Seder) supper tomorrow which should be lovely.

Italiangreyhound Tue 26-Mar-13 23:12:10

Midnight communion on Christmas Eve. It is cold and crispy outside but warm inside the church as we sing amazing song and take communion just after midnight. Then we often get to sing the final verse of Oh come all ye faithful, and we sing yes, lord we greet you, born this happy morning.

Not usually as lively as this version but it's nice.

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