Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I’ve noticed that despite Psalm 95:6, Ephesians 3:14, Acts 20:36; 21:5, most people (myself included) hardly ever kneel in chapel. I wonder why this might possibly be:

It’s a hassle and a faff and a bit uncomfortable

We’re sharing prayer books so it wouldn’t be very convenient for the person next to me if he didn’t want to kneel

I’ll be embarrassed because very few other people are doing it

I don’t want people to think that I think that I’m super spiritual

I don’t kneel at home so it’d be hypocrisy to kneel in chapel

It’s not strictly necessary to kneel so I wont do it: not kneeling is a sign of Christian freedom!

I don’t like the prayer book or the worship leader telling me what to do

The service leader doesn’t want to tell us to kneel as it might seem weird or bossy

Kneeling is doing something and we aren’t saved by doing things: kneeling is one step away from turning worship services into legalistic supposedly meritorious works righteousness offered to appease God who for some reason likes us to do things that we don’t really want to do (like kneeling on hard floors)

Lots of dodgy heretics such as Roman Catholics kneel so we better not associate with them by doing it

Non-Christian outsiders might think it’s weird and be put off the gospel because some people who believe the gospel sometimes kneel

Maybe there’s something in some of these, but they’re not the greatest reasons, are they? Perhaps someone has better explanations?

Given that we’re creation-affirming embodied creatures and not nasty Gnostic dualists, it seems to me that some bodily movements would be helpful in public worship.

To steal some words from Leithart, they may even help to “inscribe a Christian choreography, training the worshiper to dance life virtuously” (Priesthood of the Plebs, p28).

Kneeling might be appropriate for confession of sin and intercession as we symbolically bow before the king of kings and ask for his mercy and help.

Better if we all did it, though, ‘cos I don’t want to feel an idiot…


Daniel Newman said...


I like the sound of being "supper spiritual", though.

Ros said...

Thomas and James usually kneel, don't they? So you wouldn't look like an idiot, just an OT lecturer. I think that'd be okay.

Marc Lloyd said...

Thanks for the spelling correction, Daniel. Perhaps I'm just very in the habit of typing Supper.

Gerv said...

You've hit the nail on the head here. I occasionally think about kneeling, and don't for several of the (bad) reasons you give.

I try at least to not have my feet flat on the floor, though.