Although we think of play as an activity limited to children, Christine Sine argues that play characterizes healthy lives from infancy to adulthood. Play is an essential element in our mental and physical health — and, she argues, play allows Christians to connect with and imitate a playful God.
It can be hard to connect the notion of play with the same Alpha-and-Omega God who says things like, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of bondage. You shall have no other Gods before me” (Exodus 20:2). Yet Christine argues that God does play and that in playing, we can become closer to God. Adult play can be spiritual play: being with God in the moment and accepting God’s being with us in a way that would not have been possible otherwise. When we play, we surrender. The end result is not something we can craft.
This kind of play can happen on an individual level and on the level of a church community. For example, every year, The Washington National Cathedral holds a Seeing Deeper Week . In 2018, this week included a sound and light show, yoga in the nave, an indoor community-building carnival, and a “cosmic liturgy,” which the website describes as “a rave in the nave (but without the drugs).” This kind of creative, playful approach to liturgy is an example of spiritual play that might happen in groups. On an individual level, spiritual play can run the gamut from taking a nature walk with a child to praying according to the lectio divina model. We can reach the goal of freeing the mind and being joyfully present to the glory of God through many different methods of play.
We hope this class helps you to engage in play as a mental and spiritual gift — for adults and children alike. For a preview of the class, please click here.