Embodied Prayer – Move

As you watch, what do you notice?

How do you feel?

 

The leaf floats. The water carries it along, moving this way and then that way.

 

Floating is a form of surrender. We have to let go. When we doubt or thrash, we sink. Letting go, we float. Playfulness is also a surrender, letting go to create, to imagine, to risk trying the new. Where are you in need of surrender? Is there something you are clinging to or grasping tightly today? Ask Jesus to help loosen your grip and let go or at least begin.

 

What might it be like for you to float like the leaf?

And to then let your body move like the river, as it chooses?

 

Lord Jesus, help us float.

 

For more on surrender and floating: https://www.ssje.org/2014/03/09/floating-br-luke-ditewig/


Gazing up, I felt the cold, icy field under my back. I saw the cloud-covered, fog draped sky with deepening darkness. I was awake, alert from a walk in the woods. Invited to receive, I laid down, surrendered to the earth and sky. I felt calm, present, open, and energized. I smiled as the mist kissed my face with sprinkles. The fog and fading light enfolded me.

Grace is a calm, released rest, like evening dew on the field or floating in water. Like electricity, it is my heart pounding and my heavy breathing when snow shoeing. It is energized alertness amid the ordinary after exercise. When my hand, elbow, or toe moves unrestrained in a dance, grace is in its free movement. How is grace expressed in your body? When do you feel most fully alive, whether calm or energetic? How do you welcome more of it?

Gathered for worship, some bow, kneel, or make the sign of the cross. What other movements express your feelings and beliefs, your prayer? Especially when you’re alone, what might embody your anger, joy, sadness, trust, anxiety, desire, longing, or thanksgiving? Play with it. Try it out. Your audience of One loves, invites, and is waiting to see you.

Put a shape to your words, to embody the intention. We believe Jesus loves us. We say Jesus loves us. But it’s often hard to feel that love. Try wrapping yourself in a hug. Stay there. Feel the warmth of your hands holding yourself. In this shape, say “Jesus loves me.” How does that feel?

What next? Perhaps stay in this shape, rest here, like a child taking it in, needing more than a three-second hug. Perhaps gently rock back and forth. Perhaps caress and rub your shoulders and head. Our bodies contain wisdom and communicate. Are we listening? A parent rocks a child to sleep. A child sways to calm herself.

Instead of putting a shape to words, another way is to let your body move first and then notice what is being communicated. When making a snow angel one evening, a person came to mind as I lay in the snow. Feeling held, I sensed God upholding my friend. Impromptu, with increasing playful glee, I made about ten more snow angels, each a loving prayer for a different person.[i]

 

[i] These paragraphs are from my “Playing Bodies, Praying Bodies” in SSJE’s Cowley Magazine, Winter 2021

Leave a Comment