Saturday, July 07, 2007

postures (1)

I think I will meander a bit in a sort of a reoccurring blog series called “postures” in which I will view different postures people assume in their everyday lives. To start off, I want to view the posture of one’s hands during prayer.

I wonder why when I was a child I was taught to fold my hands. I suppose it was so that I would not be distracted by objects with which to fiddle. On the one hand, this is a good thing as ought to teach children to focus on what they are doing, i.e. praying to God, not wondering what toys are near by or who is sitting next to me or even what sort of noise might come out if I pull the hair of the person next to me. We fold our hands so remain undistracted and focused.

But is this sort of a negative approach to what we are doing when we pray? Can we really remain focused when we are concerned with what not to do? It’s like telling someone standing in line not to think about the time. I wonder if a better practice might be to open our hands in a posture more symbolic of receiving and offering, which seems to be more specific to we are doing when we pray anyways. Can a posture of open hands help with the distractions as well as have a more positive formation on our lives?

I think so. At this point I might refer you to the quote in my profile as well as the name of my blog: Two Empty Hands. Torrance reminds us that our act of worship is not to first offer but to first receive. We must first receive the gift of Christ and His worship to the Father so that we might be found in Christ by the Holy Spirit and worship in the same faithfulness. Cyril of Alexandria often views the atonement as the Son’s offering the perfect human worship to the Father.

It might be time that we move away from “close your eyes and cross your hands” to something more intentionally formational.



Andre said...

I was watching discovery channel or something like it a while back and they discussed the folding of hands in prayer. It dates back to the feudal times and has something to do with binding ourselves to our duties. Apparently, when peeps back then got married they would bind their hands to each others in a folded position, and this somehow made its way into Christian prayer. But don't quote me on that.

Scott Savage said...

See, now I could go for something like that. That's a new way of looking at it for me. By the way ... you and Colorado square things out?