Stand Up And Kneel

Author: Jack Regan

Picture: Pexels

Stand Up And Kneel

Kneeling, which has recently become big news, can be a powerful and prophetic action, says Jack Regan.

One of my favourite movies is the 2012 Avengers movie.

There is a great scene where Loki, brilliantly played by Tom Hiddleston, corners a group of people in a Frankfurt square.

He makes them kneel before him, but one old man refuses. “I will not kneel,” he says, “not to a man like you.”

There are no men like me,” Loki replies. To which the old man responds, “there will always be men like you!

And he is right.

There will always be people trying to make us kneel before them: tyrannical dictators, or the far more subtle corporation, media empire or political party, trying to make us kneel before their message, philosophy or product.

Taking A Knee

Kneeling, of course, has been in the news lately.

A row in the US started when an American Football player sat down during the national anthem (taboo in the US) in protest at the treatment of African Americans in some quarters.

When other players joined him, Donald Trump remarked that players disrespecting the anthem should be sacked.

The mass-kneeling started as a backlash against him, with celebrities such as Stevie Wonder joining in the campaign of "taking a knee".

Responding to these stories, a US priest posted a picture on Facebook of NFL player Tim Tebow kneeling in prayer. The caption: “Taking a knee… before it was cool.”

This post, once again, highlights the power – properly used or not – of this simple act of reverence.

Fire And Light

When I was trying out the Charismatic Renewal, I attended one of Cor et Lumen Christi’s ‘Fire and Light’ events.

These powerful evenings, which include praise and worship and prayer ministry, centred around the Blessed Sacrament.

The part which had the biggest impact on me that first time was when the monstrance was processed in.

As soon as they saw the monstrance, each person fell to their knees. Some had their hands raised, some not; some kept singing, while others went quiet.

Each person was caught up in a moment more powerful than themselves.

Restless Hearts

The human heart is fundamentally built to kneel before something. It is what we are hardwired for.

The problem is not that the world spends too much time kneeling, but that it kneels before the wrong thing.

St Augustine once said of God: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

Perhaps our knees are too, which is why it feels so right to kneel before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

There is something in us that is not quite right, unless we are displaying humility, love and reverence before the One who made us and who alone can fulfil us.

Powerful And Poignant

This was highlighted by Father Fidelis Moscinski, the Franciscan Friar recently arrested for praying and handing out roses at a US abortion clinic.

The iconic, slightly grainy picture below, of Father Fidelis kneeling down under arrest outside the clinic, says so much about the world we live in.

It is unclear from the photo whether he was forced to kneel as part of his arrest, or chose to kneel in prayer whilst waiting for the police to take him away.

It does not really matter. It simply shows a man who knew what he should be kneeling to, and what he should not be kneeling towards.

Sometimes that simple act is one of the most powerful and poignant things we can do. Far from being a sign of weakness, when properly directed it becomes a sign of great power.

When it is done right, the result is that feeling I had at my first Fire and Light, the feeling that this is where we belong and that the heart no longer needs to be so restless.

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