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.