Thursday, 12 June 2008

What do you do with your hands?

We had lots of guidance last night on hand movements, some of which, particularly the eucharistic manual acts I find highly objectionable.

But, there were some interesting reasons provided for different gestures, which might challenge the anti-liturgist (or should I say unconscious liturgist - we all have a liturgy, it's just that some people don't realise it).

In corporate prayer there are two different gestures. When the minister is praying with the people, he holds his hands together in the traditional prayer gesture we always teach children.

When he prays on behalf of the people, he holds his hands in the orans gesture, which is a relaxed and open position with the hands held out either side of the body, arms pointing upwards from the elbow. The Precentor suggested this was an ancient position for prayer which is found in wall paintings in the ancient Christian catacombs, which led me to think, is that what Paul means by lifting up holy hands in prayer (1Tim 2:8).

Worth pondering perhaps.

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