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Uncontroversial Kneeling

Kneeling has become controversial again, but it has reminded me why we kneel in worship.

We kneel specifically to repent and to enter private prayer. It is particularly appropriate posture for contrition and repentance. 

During this ongoing outbreak, when we are without our pews in worship, we have not been kneeling on screen. This has to do with how we livestream our services, but this week it has hit home how much we need to kneel, especially right now.

No matter where you are in the politics of this moment, we all have things to confess. “A humble and contrite heart, O Lord, you will not despise,” the Psalmist reminds us. Jesus said, “If you say you have no sin, your sin remains.” 

In times of unrest, protest, and fight, admitting that we have sin is rarely our first response. We are quick to be defensive and affirm our own goodness.  This is an ego trap. It leads us to affirming our own righteousness, that is our own approval. And we may approve of ourselves while God is not pleased.

If we seek God and his approval, then we can see that we have work to do without turning our discomfort against other people. We can fall to our knees before God and seek forgiveness and the Holy Spirit to convict, comfort, and guide us into the new life of Christ. 

“It is no longer I who live, but rather Christ who lives in me.” Sunday we will hear this passage from the sixth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. How would Christ live into this moment? Where would he lead us? 

On Sunday, we will get a hard Gospel from Matthew. It is a message for Jesus’ disciples because he calls us to a place beyond hiding and fear. He calls us to follow him, to proclaim what he says, and to live as he lived. 

He did not sin like we do, but still he took on our sin. He took responsibility for our failures, our brokenness, and death. He did not deny sin and its power, but he overcame it by giving his own life for us. 

We kneel in worship of him and recognition that we still need forgiveness, we still need grace and mercy. But we also kneel because we recognize how great a gift has been given to us, a gift we do not deserve. 

So when we kneel, we can also recognize that those around us do not have to earn grace and mercy from us either. They do not have to earn our love. We can give it freely, because we have received it freely.

Be bold in confessing sins, in mercy and grace, and in loving others. Let us set aside the habits of sin that we carry in our bodies and learn to rise from kneeling to walk in the new life of Christ. 

Join us online Sunday as we look at where we are called to follow our Lord together.

In Christ,