. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ............................... . . . . . Worship
WORSHIP AND MOVEMENT
Humankind to express their worship of the holy has used a wide variety of movement. As with most ways that have been accepted by Christian worshippers there is a need for careful examination in the light of Scriptural guidance. The flesh life is ever seeking to take charge and so is the weakness of humankind ever likely to succumb to the attractive lure of man made tradition. The following is a simple paper om movement to assist in the search for that which is truly holy before God.
Positioning the body, Gestures and physical movements
Gestures and physical movements are an important part in religious ritual and the religious behaviour of humankind. Such activity derives its meaning from a relationship to the holy. In moving to and from a holy place, worshippers generally proceed according to certain symbolic patterns: These may be circular, vertical or some form of the rectilinear.
Holy pathways or processions.
Rectilinear and circular movement to and from a holy place are intended to gradually prepare the worshipper for the encounter with the holy and after the encounter to guide him/her from the sacred area. Special streets for processions are often marked off or built to a temple or holy place, such as in ancient Egypt, sth America, Mesopotamia, and China. The great procession from Athens to Eleusis possessed a symbolic meaning for participants in the mysteries Worshippers may not only enter a holy place but also walk around it as a form of worship. Such processions may be considered important in the worship of the deity. Holy processions may also be vertical as well as horizontal, perhaps to a holy place on top of a mountain or pyramid. Various types of movement may be used to give expression to worship by the symbolism of a holy way or path.
The sacred dance combines rectilinear and circular movements. This may include twirling, hopping, jumping, skipping and hand movements. Some hand and finger movements in temple dances are strictly regulated particularly in Indian, and many other Asian cultures and have a precise symbolic meaning. In Christianity the liturgical dance in a rudimentary form was maintained for a long time and has had some revival in recent times. Dancing has had not only a significative but also a magical function. In some beliefs it was and is thought to evoke the spirits and cause forms of possession. This state gave the devotee power to "see" or act with divine power. The dervishes some forms of voodoo depend on dance for their worship.
Hand movements are widely used in ritual and liturgical actions; the touching of holy objects, materials, or men is performed according to a form that precisely regulates these gestures and their accompanying prayers and blessings. The gesture of blessing may imitate a symbolic form, such as that of the cross in Christianity. Here the position of the fingers is regulated and has a special meaning. This is also true in the Hindu and Buddhist practices of meditation.
Stroking, thrusting, striking, pushing, waving, and hand clapping also can be used as symbolical gestures.
By raising his hands in prayer, the worshipper approaches the realm of the heavenly gods;
Kneeling was thought to be an act of approaching the underworld. The original meaning of kneeling before it became an expression of humility was more an indication of approach to dark spirits.
The bow as genuflection generally indicates respect. The deeper the bow the more respect shown.
The kiss and the embrace--and sometimes the actions of breathing or even spitting upon someone or anointing a person with spittle--were originally magical manipulations. These actions were later used to indicate union with the community or the transferring or communicating of power. The holy kiss, whether practiced or only verbally indicated, plays an important part in many religions.
Standing is a posture of respect;
Sitting often expresses the reception and acceptance of the sacred word or teaching. It is also the position for meditation as it is practiced in Buddhist monasteries. Sitting signalled that the teacher was ready to impart knowledge.
Personal Home pathways Discussions Photos Guest Book
Please click to send e-mail comments about this page.
Back to top