Part 1 – physical movement.

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What is the usefulness and relevance of movement and posture in corporate worship? This is the first in a series on this topic inspired by a chapter in “Participating in Worship” by Craig Douglas Erickson.

Today we look at the issue of physical movement.

In many church traditions movement can involve a procession in and out of the main building, movement to the communion rail or to a baptismal font. In my congregational context such movement is not practised or, perhaps, even relevant. However, I believe there is value in physical movement.

Many of us are kinetic learners. There is something about doing things with our hands and moving our feet and bodies which helps us to learn and remember. Have you seen movement used to good spiritual effect in your worship context?

Here’s one example I tried in the Thames Valley church a year or so ago and again recently in the Watford Church of Christ.

In a special service focused on the nails of the cross the week before Easter, Patricia and Emma laid out string on the floor in the shape of a cross. We sat as a congregation around that cross. I gave each person a red rose petal. After talking about Jesus taking our sins on the cross we then sang a song whilst the members stood up from their chairs, walked to the string cross, bent down and put their rose petals “onto” the cross as a symbol of Jesus having taken their sins away. They then return to their seats “unburdened” of their sins.

I found it profoundly moving to participate, and also to see my friends do so, knowing that this bonded us together as a community. There was something about the movement rather than just intellectually assenting to this truth which drove the point home and helped us to share in the truth of personal and collective forgiveness in a deeper and more profound way.

Have you tried something like this? Have you seen something like this done well?

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

(Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John