I am a genuflecter now. I’ve seen it done, heard the gossip when Professor Feuerhahn disappeared behind the freestanding altar at Concordia Seminary, and now do it myself. The Words were spoken, and I dropped to my knees. It’s very Evangelical. It’s very biblical. It’s very Bible-based as our neighbors might say.
The words of Christ, the Presence of Christ, and I dropped to my knee and paused.
In the LCMS there is not much of a tradition of kneeling at the Words of Institution. Not the congregation, not the pastors. We do kneel to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood in most places. We kneel for prayer at other places. Sometimes the wedding couple kneels. But not for the Verba, not for the Words of Christ.
But now I do. I’m a genuflecter.
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church has the tradition, and I’ve embraced it. I’m a genuflecter. I was the Presiding Minister on this Sixth Sunday of Easter and after the words, “Do this in remembrance of me,” I elevated the host and then fell on my knees. I did the same after the cup was blessed with the words of Christ.
I didn’t genuflect before coming to this place. I only knelt when receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord. A pastor doesn’t have to genuflect. But it made a difference. It felt different. Respectful. Fearful. Like the earth in its course was pausing and there I was before Christ, hidden in bread and wine and I didn’t want to get up. But I had to work to do. Christ wants His gifts spread out and spread around, so I rose to do it.It’s very Evangelical and Biblical. Bible-based, as our Bible church neighbors would say. Well, they may not recognize it as such, but it is. “So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phi 2:10-11 ESV)” In fact it’s even more than that. Not only do I kneel at the name and presence of Jesus, but the congregation may fulfill the second part of that passage. There’s a custom when the Pastor elevates the host and the cup for the faithful to quietly say, “My Lord and My God.” There’s that confession with the tongue. Yes, it’s all right out of scripture if you have eyes to see it.