In the past few weeks I have been reflecting on Godly Play. I have explained how our fundamental belief is that children are mystics, that they, like all humans, already experience unity with God. What we aim to do is to invite them to reflect on their experience of God, to be more fully in God’s presence, and to empower them with language and ritual in their spiritual practice. I have also explained that the heart of Godly play is the creating or re-creating of sacred space, part of this you can see in our church architecture.
Alstonville Anglicans are invited to deeply respect this space as a sacred place where faith is nourished. Like the Spirit at Pentecost, Godly Play as a spiritual practice is concerned with the building of relationships and community.
In this reflection I want to pay attention to play. Godly Play is an invitation. No one can make you play – play does not work that way. For play to be play, there has to be freedom. What is play? Catherine Garvey in “Play!” says that:
Play is fun.
Play has no extrinsic goals, we play for the sake of play.
Play is voluntary, it has to be characterised by a lack of compulsion.
Authentic play involves deep engagement on the part of the players.
In Godly play our invitation is not general play, but to play with the language of God’s people: our stories, parables and even our silences. Through the community of players, we hear a deeper invitation:
to play with God.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.