I had an inspiring meeting this morning with some friends from the Calderdale Interfaith Council's "Women's Group". They have kindly agreed to help me with a children's workshop on Good Friday exploring how we look for God - how we seek contact with that which is beyond us through prayer. The conversation moved round to the physicality of prayer - and how rubbish and English we can be about this in the Western Christian tradition.
I assume that the rubric suggesting we 'sit or kneel to pray' which is so often used was introduced out of a desire to be inclusive of those who found it physically difficult or painful to kneel. It seems though that what it has done is tied people to their seats. I've notice this with some of the children in our congregation recently. We have some members of the congregation who sit throughout the services because of back problems and such like - but this seems to have suggested to others that gluing bottom to seat at 10.29am and leaving it there (save perhaps a desultory slope to the communion rail) - whether praying, listening to the Gospel, singing the Gloria - until biscuit time, is a good idea.
I appreciate this tells you quite a lot about my own tradition - but talking to my friends this morning - a fellow Christian, a Bahai and a Moslem - we all felt we weren't talking about rules in worship, we were talking about entering into prayer, into worship, with our whole selves.
I'd been looking at some physical prayer in Sue Wallace's Multi-Sensory Prayer (which I was amused to discover you can buy online from Asda Entertainment! - and why not :) thinking it might be a good idea for the workshop. I now have a clear vision of how we can physically and visually represent the commonalities in our faiths using movement and prayer positions. Thank you ladies!