Kneeling

A posture used in Christian worship, generally for prayer, which in the early church signified penitence. It was actually forbidden on Sundays and during the Easter festival. Standing was the normal posture for prayer adopted from Jewish practice (but cf. Acts 20:36). It remains customary in the East, apart from penitential devotions. In the West kneeling has become more normal, apart from some Protestant churches where sitting is usual. At the Reformation in England there was some dispute over the direction to kneel when receiving the Communion. An explanation (known as the Black Rubric) that this signified no adoration of the elements, but simply humility and gratitude, was inserted in the 1552 Prayer Book and restored in revised form in 1662.