16 July 2006

On Your Knees!

At the words "came down from heaven" and rising again before "suffered under Pontius Pilate," it was customary for centuries in the Western Church for everyone to kneel. I still do it because I'm an old fuddy-duddy. Luther had some great words on this, and they're juicy. And notice his assumption that the Creed was sung! Consider:

"The following tale is told about a coarse and brutal lout. While the words 'And was made man' were being sung in church, he remained standing, neither genuflecting nor removing his hat. He showed no reverence, but just stood there like a clod. All the others dropped to their knees when the Nicene Creed was prayed and chanted devoutly. Then the devil stepped up to him and hit him so hard it made his head spin. He cursed him gruesomely and said: 'May hell consume you, you boorish ass! If God had become an angel like me and the congregation sang: "God was made an angel" would bend not only my knees but my whole body to the ground! Yes, I would crawl ten ells down into the ground. And you vile human creature, you stand there like a stick or a stone. You hear that God did not become an angel but a man like you, and you just stand there like a stick of wood!' Whether this story is true or not, it is nevertheless in accordance with the faith (Rom 12:6)." (Sermons on the Gospel of St. John AE 22:105)

2 comments:

Pr. Shane R. Cota said...

My now departed father confessor, the Rev'd Stephen Wiest, introduced me to that passage over 10 years ago, and it helped to wake up a stupid college student to the importance of the physical side of worship and adoration of the mysteries. I miss him so much that I get a deep pain when I think of it. But I also rejoice in the wonderful truths of the Incarnation he imparted to me. I learned more from him than I did from the theology faculty at Mequon when I was a student there.

William Weedon said...

Fr. Cota,

That I well believe! Yes, that Luther quote is a great one indeed. I first came across it from a reference by my neighboring Amtsbruder John Fuchs.