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Let Go and Look Around

Spiritual practice is key to spiritual life. Like any other activity or skill, practice is necessary for growth or mastery. Something else to be aware of is that our spiritual practice is what holds us accountable to our spiritual beliefs and convictions. In other words if we say that we love all people, but never practice kindness, then our beliefs and behaviors are out of alignment.

A more direct word for this is hypocrisy. For Christians, our spiritual practices range greatly and they in turn fuel our actions. It hard to say if one comes before the other. Do we first believe, and then practice, and then act? It seems like a logical flow, but then again, often our beliefs are formed after having experiences, or our spiritual practices and exercises change and therefore our ministries or acts of service do as well.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the order doesn’t matter as much as the “flow."  If God is always moving, changing, awakening within us, then we’re never stagnant. But we have to keep space available in our minds, hearts, arms, and spiritual sight line for Divine manifestations.

 

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Taking a Knee - in Church

Recently in the historic church, I took special note of the kneelers. A handful of people choose to kneel during the service while we ask for forgiveness or when the bread and wine are being prayed over. Some kneel after receiving communion. I’ve been resistant to kneeling for many years because of the negative associations and memories it conjures up of a previous experiences in a different church. Even though I understand the value and the history and I know there is nothing inherently “bad” about kneeling, I was hung up on all of the connotations of submission, medieval piety, issues with authority, etc.

After staring at the tattered kneeler on which generations people have prayed, I thought about the connection between the physical and spiritual and I heard God inviting me. It wasn’t a sense of sorrow or guilt. It wasn’t a feeling that if I humbled myself before God by kneeling that I’d somehow be more lovable…and so I asked for the grace to let go of the negative, and see kneeling as a new spiritual practice. So, I “took a knee” and as usually happens when we engage our bodies, my spirit shifted too, and my kneeling itself became a prayer and also a sense of awareness.

The vulnerability that comes with kneeling alerted me that I don’t have to be in control of everything. I don’t have to weather every storm. In taking the humble posture of kneeling, I’m not making myself small before God, I’m just changing my perspective.

 

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