27 January 2009

On Kneeling at the Words of Christ

During the chanting of the Holy Words of Christ that consecrate the Sacrament, it is my custom to kneel before the Lord's body and blood. I'd never before thought how this is precisely the practice Dr. Luther describes in the Larger Catechism (the assigned reading for today in Treasury):
Now it is not the word or ordinance of a prince or emperor. But it is the Word of the grand Majesty, at whose feet all creatures should fall and affirm that it is as He says, and accept it with all reverence, fear, and humility. [V:11]
Is not this exactly what the genuflection does? What it confesses?

"You, O Lord, have said it, and it is so; This is Your body and This Your holy blood! Glory to You! Glory to You forever!"


Dennis said...

I miss that part from the Anglican liturgy. I am not used to standing during the consecration. I think that it is so appropriate to be on our knees before the Lord in the Sacrament. "At the name of Jesus every knee should bow."

Past Elder said...

Yes it is. The word literally means "bend the knee".

In the Good Friday liturgy, after the reading of the Passion account of John, the congregation is invited to do same at each of the prayers:

Oremus (Let us pray).
Flectamus genua (Let us kneel).
Silent personal prayer.
Levate (Arise).

These would be said in between the two parts of each prayer in the Bidding Prayer, TLH p116, which leaves them out.

Of course, after the Revolution, it was explained to us that genuflecting was derived from the mediaeval custom before rules, no longer applicable to our times and culture, and a simple bow should be done.

Joshua said...

Despite PE's comment, it remains normative (see the relevant rubrics in the relevant books), and at least in Australia it's still done to kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer, genuflect, etc., excepting in mad parishes and of course, quite reasonably, among the elderly or infirm.

But that's not my point!

PW, do you mean to say that you, the minister, kneel down while praying the Verba?

Don't you have to, well, hold the bread in your hands or take up the chalice, etc.?

BTW, I understand it was once common practice to ring a bell at the Verba, and for the minister to make the sign of the Cross over the elements - is this done in your church?

Christopher D. Hall said...

When I was at Oberursel, they always knelt at the Verba. Despite some other "low-church" feeling things, which I cannot recall right now, this was a joy.

William Weedon said...


I geneuflect after elevating each element after it has been consecrated.

William Weedon said...

Oh, and we do not ring a bell at the consecration at St. Paul's, but, yes, the sign of the cross is made over each element as it is being consecrated.

Joshua said...

Oh, I see: I misinterpreted what you said of kneeling. I have read that in olden times it was the custom for Anglican ministers to kneel down before the altar to communicate themselves, so strong was their insistence on kneeling communion.