How can we worship with all our senses?
The body is just a part of the soul blessed with five senses.
A way of approaching the question of worship with our wholebody is to think of using our five senses.
The following examples may help open up our thinking on this.
Hearing: listening to sermons/homilies, music, testimonies of fellow believers.
Touch: holding the communion elements of bread and wineglasses/chalice, the warmth of a handshake or appropriate greeting of a hug.
Sight: the cross, stained-glass windows, candles burning, colours of the particular church season, choir vestments, palm leaves (Palm Sunday), Advent decorations,
Taste: communion wine, the food at morning tea or gatherings for fellowship.
The article below identifies 9 different ways that people connect with God.
The second pathway relates to the senses, and is relevant to our topic.
However, if we were to broaden our discussion from the use of our senses to our whole body, for example, the physical (arms, legs) our mind and emotions, this article is very helpful in providing a rich array of ideas.
For example, under the topic Naturalists, it gives examples of walking through a park ( physical) and Intellectuals of systematically studying Scripture (the mind).
Bodily movement could be increased by bringing back the traditions of kneeling for prayer and crossing oneself. Crossing oneself has a two-fold purpose: to remind one of one's baptism and the commitment that we are making to Christ and to also reminds us that one is entering a sacred place that is set apart from the world outside. We are told to kneel, O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! – Psalm 95:6 and "At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bend.” – Philippians 2:10
In my church there are a minority that kneel and sign themselves, generally the same people, and from the stand point of a fidgety person I see merit. It boosts participation and gives a role to play out. Stand to praise through hymns and proclaim our beliefs when reciting the creeds. Sit to receive the word of God through readings and the sermon. Kneel to pray, except for the Lord's prayer for some reason that doesn't make sense to me as are standing. Signing the cross when entering, before and/or after the gospel, taking communion or whenever the mood take you.
When taking communion I have gone from standing to kneeling and I prefer to kneel as it does feel more reverential it also allows you to linger as you don't have quickly get out the way to let the next person in. I also knelt to pray during the last service and it was good in the reverential feeling but also in using the whole body to break up the service.
Sola scriptura (Scripture alone) Phillip Hansen likes to say that a service is scripture spoken and taught (1 Timothy 4:13). That scripture gets mixed in with ritual isn't to lessen it but to enhance it. The ritual of the service allows the congregation to engage with the whole body and not just the mind.
(I think I got the following objections from Wikipedia)
Those who oppose ritualism in the church have generally argued that it:
1. Encourages idolatry in that it encourages worshippers to focus on ritual objects and actions rather than the things they are meant to symbolise;
Answer: Teach what they symbolise.
2. Constitutes an attempt to make Protestant churches more Catholic;
Answer: Protestantism is a theology not necessarily how we perform the service.
3. Constitutes a downgrading of the significance of preaching and biblical exposition in regular Christian worship;
Answer: If the service was just about teaching, church would look more like school. Ritual ties us in to a tradition that has history.
4. Encourages an idolatrous attitude to the Eucharist because ritualism is predicated on a belief in the Real Presence;
Answer: It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the elements that is being worshipped not the elements themselves. Or from a more protestant view, the ritual is there to help us remember as Jesus told us to do. Same as a dawn service on ANZAC day.
5. Uses excessive elaborations in worship that cannot be justified on the basis of the descriptions of worship in the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, or the Epistles in the New Testament – the robes used in the worship of heaven described in the Book of Revelation are plain white;
Answer: I would concede this point, the vestments in some churches go too far in my eyes but the important point is that the clergy has a uniform that separates them from the ordinary. When in the uniform they are a representative of God in the same way that a police uniform or a judges wig and gown separate these people from their personal identities to be now representatives of the state.
6. Undermines a key Protestant belief that no human actions, even worship precisely and carefully offered, can be of any value when it comes to being justified in the eyes of God: worship should be an unfussy, obedient, penitent, grateful, and spontaneously joyful response to the experience of being saved by faith alone in Jesus – ritual and tradition are merely human inventions;
Answer: Ritual and tradition are not human inventions but are repeatedly mentioned in the bible. What is Baptism but a bible instructed ritual and tradition? The idea of ritual is not justification by works and is never intended to imply that, the purpose is simply help bring the congregation together in prayer experience. Ritual and tradition has appeared around the world because it is so powerful at doing this.
7. Has often impeded the understanding of the gospel by wrapping up Christian worship in indecipherable symbolic acts.
Answer: Decipher the symbolic acts beforehand.
8. Is not beautiful as proponents claim but rather gaudy and distracting from contemplative worship
Answer: No, it is. If someone says something is beautiful then for that person it is. We have been practising these rituals in various modified forms for thousands of years. People like it and they want it. It also connects people through their actions to a history that spans millennia. Some of the liturgy was spoken by Jesus in the temple.