“A desire to kneel down sometimes pulses through my body, or rather it is as if my body has been meant and made for the act of kneeling. Sometimes, in moments of deep gratitude, kneeling down becomes an overwhelming urge, head deeply bowed, my hands before my face.” ~ Etty Hillesum
There was a deep peace in the heart of Etty Hillesum. She wrote extensively about her love for fellow human beings while being persecuted and awaiting the certain fate of deportation from her home in Amsterdam during World War II. She was one of 1.1 million who died at Auschwitz concentration camp but her faith in God and people live on in the many letters and diaries she left behind. The thought that kneeling was Etty’s demonstration of awe is one that should inspire us today.
I wonder what it might be like if we all knelt a little bit more and stood tall a bit less. The thought of making ourselves vulnerable in the kneeling position is a foreign one to us. But the image of getting on both knees to help a child or to pray at night is universally embraced. The reverence and wonder demonstrated by such an act can only be matched by how defenseless we become in this position. It is time for more kneeling. It is time for becoming so open to God and each other that we are once again willing to find the common ground necessary for a cessation of all the misunderstandings and animosity which are destroying us.