Well, today we are talking about Postures of worship. The question why do we Stand during worship? Or maybe how should we have Our Posture during worship? And the question why do we Stand? Is A good One.
And part of the answer is tradition. PAart of the. The answer is Anatomy or PhySiology, and part of it is biblical, but not as much as you might think. There actually isn’t a biblical command to stand during worship. One of the reasons we stand when we sing specifically is think back.
Were you ever in choir when you were in school? And the first thing the teacher would say is stand. And the reason is Anatomy and PhySiology. It is easier to sing. You can get more Air into your lungs.
You have more control of your diaphragm while you are Standing. It’d be kind of like saying you’re going to go outside and play catch with a football, but when you get out there, you sit on the ground. You probably could throw a ball while sitting, but you can throw it much further when you stand up and you have Access to all your core muscles and your legs, and you can use your whole body just like that with singing. When you stand, you have more air and can sing better. The other thing is just tradition.
We’ve been standing for a long time as we sing, so we continue to stand. But more than just for the sake of tradition, I think standing gets your attention a little bit more when you’re Sitting in the worship center and relaxing before service starts. When we stand up, it’s a good signal to say, okay, now’s our time to sing. Let me start paying attention and let me focus on what we’re doing. So those are things that we can do when we’re singing.
But what does Scripture say about Our Postures during Worship? And actually, Scripture gives us a lot of Options. No commands. It doesn’t say you must stand or you must sit. But if we look at some of the Postures in WOrship, and I found this list by Pastor Christopher Asmus on desiringgod.org.
And he says these Four Postures Are common IN WOrshIP. People fall on their Faces in wOrship. That’s in Genesis 17, Nehemiah eight, Ezekiel one, revelation four, five and 14. In the presence of God, people raised their hands in worship. That’s in one Kings eight, Ezra nine, Nehemiah eight, Psalms 63, 134, and 141.
In the presence of God, people bow down in worship. That’s Exodus 34, Psalm five, Isaiah 66. And in the presence of God, his people even get ready for this dance in worship. Two Samuel David dances. It also talks about dancing while worshipping in Psalm 149 and 150.
All that to say is posture in worship gives you a lot of options. You can worship however it is, and once again, the most important thing is content. While you’re singing, focus on the words that you’re singing. Focus on who you’re singing to. Focus on who you’re singing about and what you’re saying.
And that means sometimes when we’re in the worship center and we’re all together, and I or Laura or one of the worship leaders say, let’s all stand and sing, and if you’re thinking to yourself, I just really can’t stand right now, don’t. That’s fine. Or if we’ve been standing for too long and you need to sit, sit, do whatever is best for you to be able to engage with the content and the person that we are singing to. And the same if we’re sitting and we’re singing or listening and you are moved and you just think, I need to stand and lift my hands, I want to invite you to do just that.
In worship, it’s about authenticity.
It’s about singing sacrificially, as I mentioned on Sunday. And it’s about engaging with God and with each other. And for me, I grew up in a family where we were expressive physically and emotionally. And if I was sitting on the couch with my dad watching a 49 ER game and they scored a touchdown, we would jump up to our feet and we would yell and scream and raise our hands. I remember not too long ago when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series and I jumped to my feet.
I started yelling, and I even ran out in the street with other neighbors, running in the street, yelling and screaming and applauding. That is an expression of excitement. And to me it would be inauthentic if we mentioned the resurrection of Jesus and I stayed stone face and didn’t move. My posture is reflecting what I’m feeling. And what I’m feeling when I worship God is gratitude and excitement and joy.
That though I don’t deserve it, God has offered me Jesus, and through him I can have everlasting life and a relationship with him. My sins are forgiven. I have been set free. And because of that, my posture in worship will reflect that. So next time we’re singing together as a church, you’re singing vertically to God, you’re singing horizontally to one another.
Stand, sit, raise your hands, clap, jump up and down, do whatever it is that helps you engage with the one who has offered us everlasting life and freedom through his son.