This is the fancy term for kneeling in church, or kneeling for prayer or other worship. We kneel while receiving the blessed Sacrament as a way of confessing the Real Presence of Jesus’ body and blood — that He truly is present to be eaten and drunk by those who partake of the Lord’s Supper. If He were standing in front of you, you’d kneel; same thing with the Sacrament — because He is there. Of course, this is not an absolute. Kneeling for the Sacrament is not prescribed in Scripture, nor is it necessary for a valid celebration of the Lord’s Supper. If your knees or other joints bother you, or your condition prevents you from extra kneeling, by all means, stay standing and give thanks to God that way. I don’t think people always realize what they’re doing when they kneel for the Sacrament. We sing, “O come let us worship and bow down,” but we might not always make the connection that outer worship and inner worship go together. Outer worship (how you stand, sit, hold your hands, etc.) is not in and of itself worship of God, but it can be a way for the believer to express the inner worship of fear, love, and trust in God that takes place in the heart. What’s outside gives expression to what’s inside — and reinforces it, and confesses the truth to all those who see it. Such customs can be good and useful, which is why we still use them.
Some churches come equipped with kneelers for people to use, which are good to have, but the church’s interior layout has to be able to accommodate them. While I was in seminary, I had one of those moments that unwittingly shows someone what they’re like. I was attending a Compline (Prayer at the Close of Day) service, and the time came in the service where the assembly knelt for confession and absolution. I happened to be sitting on the end of an aisle, so there was no kneeler in front of me. Everyone knelt on their kneelers, and I knelt down on the hard slate flagstones in the chapel. I realized what I’d done, and then I kept kneeling. At that moment I realized that I valued kneeling to pray more than a few moments’ discomfort from kneeling on the flagstones (which wasn’t that bad anyway.) Such little moments add up over a lifetime, until at last you realize more fully who you are and who you want to be.

Picture not taken at our congregation, but you get the idea.

Word of the Day
December 1
genuflectAudio Pronunciation\JEN-yuh-flekt\
DEFINITION
verb
1
a :
to bend the knee
b :
to touch the knee to the floor or ground especially in worship
2 :
to be servilely obedient or respectful
EXAMPLES
As part of the wedding ceremony, the couple genuflected before the altar.
“You imagine how frustrating it is for those watching and waiting to genuflect at the altar of the game’s best pitcher — but their primary glimpse of him for the second straight game is sitting dejectedly in the dugout….” — From an article by Drew Sharp in the Detroit Free Press (Michigan), October 9, 2011
DID YOU KNOW?
“Genuflect” is derived from Late Latin “genuflectere,” formed from the noun “genu” (“knee”) and the verb “flectere” (“to bend”). “Flectere” is an ancestor of a number of common verbs in English, such as “reflect” (“to throw back light or sound”) and “deflect” (“to turn aside”). By comparison “genu” sees little use in English, but it did give us “geniculate,” a word often used in scientific contexts to mean “bent abruptly at an angle like a bent knee.” Despite the resemblance, words such as “genius” and “genuine” are not related to “genuflect”; instead, they are of a family that includes the Latin verb “gignere,” meaning “to beget.”
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