Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Back to Our Seats

What do you do when you return to your seat after communion? Some of us are kneelers and some of us are sitters. When I was growing up we were taught that you remain kneeling until the priest sits down. The idea being that we should continue to pray after we return from communion.

That practice of kneeling abides in some places today, even many places. But I also see a considerable amount of sitting. And if you've never tried that, you might. It embodies a different sort of prayer, something less petitional or active and more ...acquiescent. Receptive. Something along the lines of sitting back now and letting the grace, letting the Spirit in.

Either way, if there is ever a moment that there should be a nice, long stretch of silence in the liturgy, it's here (and also after the homily). By long I'm not talking what in real time would be a lot of minutes; I'm not even talking five minutes, for most of us that would be feel like 2 hours and agony. But 2 or 3 minutes after it's all over where there is no music playing and no one talking -- it's really important moment to let things settle. To let God speak and nourish us in the quiet. We have so little of that in our lives.

Some places like to offer a communion meditation song after communion. And those can be great, too, but you always have to consider, how much further input does the congregation need? And if we're going to do a meditation, still, let's precede it with some silence. Give the congregation a chance to catch its breath.

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