Friday, July 28, 2017

The Kneeling Spot

I am grateful for the altar in the sanctuary.  An altar is indeed a holy place.  It is one of those places in our world where our human need intersects with the power of the Holy Spirit.  There are, of course, other places where this happens, but there is no place like this particular kneeling spot in our world.  The truth is there are no other places which encourage or invite us to kneel.  Kneeling is not something commonly done by those of our day who only see the whole kneeling thing an unnecessary anachronism.  People who have it all together and see themselves as the masters of their future have no use for an altar.
In my days of ministry every United Methodist Church had an altar.  This is not to say it was used in all of them, but it was at least there as a reminder of something important in life.  In many of our United Methodist Churches, the only time people are invited to kneel is when Holy Communion is offered.  Of course, this is only true if the church has not bowed to the more expedient "walk by" communion offered to many hurried worshipers.  It is sad to see an altar not used and even more sad to see it omitted completely when newer more contemporary sanctuaries are constructed.  In many places an altar is no longer seen as necessary.
For a lifetime I have been kneeling at one after another after another.  I always made a practice of inviting those who worshipped to use it.  I have prayed many prayers while there on my knees.  I have met many a struggling soul at that holy place to pray about the burdens of the heart.  I have been there on many occasions when the Holy Spirit stirred in our midst in mighty and powerful ways.  The altars of all those churches from my past have proven themselves to be holy places where God is encountered.  I am grateful for everyone of them on this journey of faith. 

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