"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” " - Revelation 7:9-11
This month another of the time-honored traditions we cherish in our worship. I am speaking about the saints standing for Jesus. We do this quite literally! Over many years I have heard people criticize traditional worship that has the congregation stand, then sit, then stand again! Perhaps this criticism is appropriate if one is simply standing for no reason. However, as God’s people we stand in worship and we do it as an act of honor to our King! It is an ancient custom from New Testament times to stand in honor of one’s king during his entrance and also during his speaking. The church has made use of this custom in its worship. We display honor for King - Jesus as we rise for the entrance procession and for the hearing of his word in the Holy Gospel!
The book of Revelation has been called a book of congregational worship for a reason. We see throughout the work God’s people in glory singing his praises! In Revelation chapter 9 we see a vision of a great multitude that no one could number. His entire congregation is standing before God and giving him the honor he is due!
Standing was the normal bodily posture in worship for the church historically over many centuries. A second century church Father named Irenaeus claims that standing during worship actually has apostolic authority! Whether the apostles themselves taught the first church to stand during prayer and worship or not one thing is for sure. Standing for the Savior is certainly a time-honored practice!
So the next time we rise in our worship may we have our minds and hearts set on things above that we might give the honor to God. Let us stand together in faith until the day we stand before his throne in his presence singing his praises forever!