Notes from Jan

On Bended Knees

July 23, 2018


After determining my face no longer looked like I’d developed a bad case of acne or contracted a highly contagious disease,  I headed to church yesterday.

Egg pox healed nicely.

Church is my ark, a safe place in life’s storms.

One of my friends talks about upstairs and downstairs church.  Sounds like something from Phillip Yancey.  Upstairs is like the penthouse of the ark with panoramic views, removed from the stench of real life.  It’s  a pretty place with pretty people,  domicile for peace loving doves, leaders not losers,  or so we like to appear.

Downstairs welcomes the dregs, the dung, the dumbstruck-by-life folks with egg on their faces or worse.  Downstairs houses AA and Al-Anon, weight loss, divorce and grief support groups and others who feel more at home below than above.   Better chance you’ll  find Jesus among the needy, the desperate.  Desperate enough to come alone,  not  the usual safe two by two into the ark.

Sometimes I’m upstairs, sometimes down.

Grace reaches both ways.

When  the usher signified my turn to head to the front for the Eucharist, I parked my cane, then inched forward.

Upon reaching the altar, gripped the rail and cautiously bent my knees.




I wept, not for my sins but God’s mercy and modern medicine.

Didn’t rise for a long time, just sobbed like a downstairs church person, aware of a God who cares and cheers small victories, like knees that bend and broken people on the mend.

Shaken by relief and wonder,  when served communion, I shoved the wafer to the bottom of the cup, absentmindedly stirring the wine, sopping up Grace.

Reluctantly rose from this cushioned place, then walked back to the pew with grateful gait, licking fingers still dripping with dregs of something too sacred to waste.

















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  • Reply Becky Manseau Barnett July 23, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    I’m going to sob reading this! Thanks for sharing Jan!

  • Reply Mark Taylor July 23, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Good for you. Keep walking! Next thing you know, you’ll be climbing between upstairs and downstairs.

  • Reply Jo Ann Buccigrosso July 23, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    WONDERFUL news, Jan. Bent, both knees. in three plus months and sopping up the Grace. Been following your journey closely as I head into knee surgery on Monday. Inspired hope-filled. He can DO this!
    “You strengthen me more and more, enfold and comfort me.” Ps. 71:21
    Almighty God, fountain of all wisdom, you know my necessities before I ask and my ignorance in asking. Have compassion on my weakness and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask, through
    the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.
    Amen+ Bless you! from The Divine Hours, Prayers for Summertime.

  • Reply Dale Lefever July 24, 2018 at 1:04 am

    Thanks Jan,

    You are fortunate. The “dregs” don’t even bother to come to our church, so you are doing something right. The next move is to remodel to a one floor sanctuary!

    Blessings, Dale

  • Reply Ruth S. Wacome July 24, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Wonderful, Jan……just wonderful! Thank-you, Lord!

  • Reply Radina Welton July 24, 2018 at 1:41 am

    Wow! Just wow! Like Ann Lamott’s book on prayer: HELP, THANKS, WOW.

  • Reply Susan McMullen July 24, 2018 at 11:14 am

    congratulations! when i knelt sunday, i hoped you were kneeling too, and you were! yea!

  • Reply Nancy Mering July 24, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    O Happy Day! Very sorry to have missed The Bending. So appropriate that it happened at the rail. Can’t decide if the Lord would have teared up with and for you as you cried or smiled lovingly at your pleasure in being able to kneel before him at the communion rail. . .

  • Reply Gail MacDonald July 24, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Yes, O Happy Day! Thrilled for you, Janny! I love how quickly you want to give thanks for the good and the tough.
    This answer to our heart-cries for you makes us all feel like bowing lower. As the Psalmist said, “The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. (118:23) And thank you to the medical friends who have been so diligent and kind! Someone once said “Those who bend their knees in prayer have less trouble standing on their feet.” Yay!

  • Reply Darlene Gibson July 24, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    I have a vivid memory of praying with you on the hard, cement floor of the Hynes one Congress years ago. I remember the tears that ran down our faces. And us crying out to Jesus. Do you remember?

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