I was thinking the last couple of days about rules in games. I love playing games, as you might have noticed. All kinds of games too. I love the community it brings, the excitement and the tests of skill. But without rules games just wouldn't be that fun.
Rules make games fun for everyone.
I know it is sometimes frustrating learning a new game or having your understanding of the rules of a game challenged. But rules play a very important role. They let everyone know that this is not a free for all, anything goes and whoever can assert themselves the best wins situation. Rules also give a structure so that we know what to expect from the game and from other players. If someone doesn't play by the rules we call that cheating, and cheating (sorry Paul) is not often welcomed in games.
Some games have very flexible rules, and need to. But this is known when one starts such a game - so you know what to expect. Some games have very strict and ordered rules, again you know what you are getting into. I like both kinds of games, but games without any rules are just plain frustrating.
While I was thinking about this my thoughts strayed into the ecclesial. Not that church is a game, at least I hope and pray we don't think so. But it does help us enjoy ourselves more when we know the rules. I watched a Tridentine Mass on video yesterday and the whole thing was in Latin, priest mostly with his back to the congregation. And you know I had trouble appreciating it. (And even if I did know the rules I might not choose to play that one.) But everyone who was part of it knew the rules - and they seemed to enjoy themselves. (Heck I like a lot of games but some I just don't find fun - like Risk for example, I could take it or leave it, I prefer the post Vatican II masses by far.) All that to say that liturgy is like the rules to a game. If you know them then you can fully participate in the service, feel free to explore your boundaries and be free to have a genuine encounter with God.
Funny where some thoughts take you.
Be blessed and as I say on the poker tables - Play Well!