Recently I learned about an Episcopal priest who wants to do something a bit unusual with prayer. At an intergenerational meeting, this priest wants to gather all of the youth and then encourage the Church to listen to their prayers. So far so good.
But then things get nutty. After encouraging us to really listen to what our youth pray for, this priest then wants us to pray to the youth "as if they were God." The priest's rationale? Since "they are in fact the body of Christ," this is "not that much of a stretch."
"Prayers of the People" I know, but "Prayers to the People"? We pray with other people in the liturgy (hence the Book of Common Prayer). But praying to them?
When questioned on the wisdom (much less theological integrity) of doing this sort of thing by a clergy colleague, this priest's response was basically to say: "I think one of the biggest mistakes the Church has made was when it was decided that we can only pray to God and not to the people, also."
I must have missed the Church council that made that historic decision.
To make matters more interesting, this priest also claims to have been teaching and modeling this theology of prayer for the past three years to the congregation he currently serves. And no one objects. So it must be okay, right?
Wonders never cease ...