I am reading a riveting book right now. It is called Toying With God, and it is about religious games, dolls, and toys. It is hilarious and fascinating to read about the Roman Catholic board game Divinity (“the only game with the imprimatur, the Catholic Church’s official seal of approval”), Kosherland, Race to the Kabah, and BuddhaWheel. The premise of the book is intriguing, the writing style is thoroughly researched and yet buoyant and entertaining, and the subject matter couldn’t be more fun!
Here’s an interesting fact for you: Did you know that two of the most popular Buddhist board games actually cannot be finished or won–ever? Even if you put the game away, when you pull it back out, you start where you were before. If you reach the end of the board (which will take some doing), forever forward, you help other players as a Bodhisattva. The game communicates belief. It was shaped by worldview, and it itself becomes a worldview-shaper.
Play can be serious business. It’s how we take in facts, how we understand things, how we integrate our sense of reality and our physical selves into our awareness of the world at large. This is something that’s still really important when I teach English to adult learners. We play games–lots of them. The sillier, the better. This isn’t because the people in the class are childish, I am careful to explain before beginning. It’s because we learn differently and better when our guard is down, when we are laughing and integrating new information through challenges or interpersonal connection, than we will with only the lecture or by repeating words out loud a million times. Information followed by guided play, enactment, and interaction is the best way to learn.
This means that kids are very busy people!
Of all the ideas that are hard to explain to young children, sometimes worship is among the trickiest.
We go to “10:00 Worship,” there is “worship music,” it is bad to “worship idols,” and they may know the phrase, “he worships the ground that she walks on.” That is a fairly muddled semantic range.
It also doesn’t really relate to other words it sounds like… It has nothing to do with warships, not even (sadly, for some of our 6 year old boys) with ships in general.
It definitely has to do with God or gods, but what does it mean? Should kids do it? If so, how?
In our very individualized society, it’s really hard to show anyone the answer because we like to think of worship as what happens on the inside, in our hearts and minds. And it is that! But what happens on the inside should be reflected on the outside, and what happens on the outside can affect what is inside. That’s one reason I love to be an Anglican. We cross ourselves. We bow. We kneel (well, sometimes). We interact, we play at our worship. And that doesn’t bring worship down to the profane level of play. It brings play up to the level of the sacred.
Next Thursday, July 12, we will have our Worship Arts Camp from 9-12 at the church. Children ages 3 through 12 are invited to come and explore worship in a hands-on way. Parents are welcome to go or stay for this event where we’ll learn about the idea of worship and how it happens in the Bible. We’ll get to participate by learning different worship arts–things ranging from carpentry to music–and how they can be used in a worship service. We will get to walk through our own miniature interactive worship service, learning about all of the things that we see each week at church. We will see how worship is a part of everyday life, with everything that we do.
We will have special guest teachers for our activities, and there will be a delicious mid-morning snack!
This event is going to be fun. The people who are helping are wonderful–it’s going to be a blast! I’m excited that we’ll get to interact with these amazing guests and explore worship.
I am most excited that we will have this opportunity to enter into sacred play so that these kids–and all of us, really–can more deeply experience what it means to praise the Lord with all that we are and all that we do. RSVP below to help us as we plan!