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"A Sure and Present Sign"

April 3, 2018

     In the Book of Common Prayer which is used for Episcopal Services, the rubrics are the directions which tell the congregation what to do and when to do it. Episcopalians are known for the calisthenics during their services, so it comes as no surprise that the rubrics often say please kneel, please stand, please sit.

     However, since the new prayer book in 1979, there have been options for postures during certain prayers, and there are reasons for those options. They were not just to reduce the calisthenics!

     In the part of the service called The Great Thanksgiving, as the celebration of the Eucharist begins, the rubric says "The people stand or kneel." Historically, Episcopalians have knelt at this point, but standing has a purpose. By standing we declare "the sure and present sign of the Resurrection." And if you have hovered in the valley for long enough, if you have come through liminal space into a place of transition and transformation, then standing as a "sure and present sign of the Resurrection" means a great deal.

      Not everyone understands this, and it becomes a little awkward when the rest of the congregation kneels. But the surer I get about practicing resurrection, the easier it gets to stand. 

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