I remember a certain deacon from years ago who would make the following statement whenever the congregation would sing the hymn, Standing on the Promises:
We can’t be sitting if we are standing on the promises.
His prompting from about the 4th pew would facilitate the rising to stand of the entire congregation. I understood that his statement was one of letting our physical positions match the words we were singing.
Fast forward to today. Almost every church I have attended in recent years has the congregation standing during the singing of every song. I get that. Most congregational songs are upbeat and are sung best in the upright position.
But do we have to stand for every song? (Please keep in mind that this article is primarily tongue-in-cheek). Are there not songs that are more reflective or confessional that are sung better with softer voices and in a sitting (or kneeling) position? If these songs aren’t being sung, then perhaps we should change that.
Now nobody wants to feel like they are doing military drills in church. Up, down, up again, down again. But sometimes it would be nice to sit pensively and sing to the Lord.
You all know where I am going with this, don’t you? When you finally get the opportunity to do this, one of three people in the congregation jumps to their feet and belts out the song. I arrived at three people from experiential knowledge. I have no scientific data to back this up, but am still convinced of it. I have identified the three people in our church and plan on having a talk with them :).
These three people are like the guy at the football game that implores all fans to stand up and scream for their team even when they are being soundly defeated. Some games are exciting enough to demand constant standing and cheering. But sometimes a fan just needs to sit and shake his head at the lousy play of his favorite team.
So what do you do when one of these three stand up? Admit it, unless you are on crutches or have some limitation, you stand with them. After all everybody else is grudgingly standing as they succumb to pew peer pressure. The only way to “spiritually” remain seated is to have your head bowed and eyes closed in deep, reverential ignorance.
I am confident that the next time this happens in church, you will think of this article. So do me a favor and come back to comment on whether you stood or sat.