The information sign at the UCC church at the end of our street today reads, “God answers all kneel mail.”
As I walked “Wisconsin,” our black and white Newfoundland, through the cemetery I thought of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Marshfield, Wisconsin which is one of the few Lutheran churches which has kneelers. I don’t know when or how the tradition started in the congregation. The “old” church, which dated back to about 1900 or before had kneelers. When a new church was being planned the committee wanted to continue the practice of kneeling went they entered the church, for confession and again following the Lord’s Supper.
In Matthew 8 a leper, and centurion knelt before Jesus. In chapter 9 the ruler of a synagogue whose daughter had just died knelt before Jesus. On the way to the ruler’s house a woman who had been suffering from a discharge of blood for twelve years touched the fringe of his garment.
The people in Matthew’s Gospel had no business coming near Jesus or anyone else. According to the law, skin disease, death, and a woman’s menstrual period made them unclean. When Jesus touched them or was touched, he became ritually unclean. But in every case Jesus healed them reversing the flow of uncleanness to cleanness.
On Sunday morning, we confess, “we are by nature sinful and unclean.” Therefore, it would be “good, right and salutary” that we all kneel that we might rise to sing, “This is the feast of victory for our God, Alleluia.”