Standing Before God

The Orthodox practice of standing for worship

Standing before God has been the only acceptable posture for Orthodox Christians from the earliest of times. We recognize that a faithful servant would never sit before his master, for the faithful are all servants of the Lord, whom we worship as we stand in our temples. The Holy Apostle Paul tells us, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith” (I Cor. 16:13); “Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth (Ephesians 6:14).

As Christians we must always be on guard spiritually, ever more so then when attending the divine services. By standing we subject our bodies to the attention needed to properly and fully worship God with all our mind and soul. We subject ourselves before the Master as His humble servants, being attentive to our God. When we become fatigued during long services we symbolically become offerings to the very God we worship. Saint Paul says: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

In addition to the ascetic practice of standing in worship, we Orthodox can also add the pious act of prostrations. Prostrations can be done when entering the nave from the narthex, before we venerate an icon in the temple, or when saying the Jesus Prayer in the privacy of our home. There are times to sit (cf. the Kathismata: the sections of the Psalter read each day: Kathisma means “seated”), and not to sit (the Akathistos: not seated!

Monks commonly perform prostrations while saying the Jesus Prayer, especially when fingering the beads that are spaced throughout one’s prayer rope. Prostrations, like standing, help aid in purifying the heart, for in doing so we bring the mind’s attention back from wandering, and worship God with body and soul united.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: Mount Rainier, as seen from a nature trail near the monastery on Vashon Island.

Wednesday June 13, 2018 / May 31, 2018
3rd Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Apostle Hermes of the Seventy (1st c.).
Martyr Hermias at Comana (160).
New Hieromartyr Archpriest Philosoph Ornatsky with his sons Boris and Nicholas, in St. Petersburg (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Hierotheus, bishop of Nikolsk (1928), and his friend Hieroschemamonk Seraphim (Nikolsky) (1923).
Martyr Philosophus at Alexandria (252).
Martyr Marus the Magician who was converted on witnessing the martyrdom of Hermias.
Five Martyrs of Ascalon (Greek).
Martyrs Eusebius and Charalampus (Greek).
St. Eustathius, patriarch of Constantinople (1025).
Finding of the relics of New Martyr Nicholas the Deacon of Lesbos.
Translation of the relics (1591) of St. Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow (1569), to Solovki.
St. Philotheus, metropolitan of Tobolsk (1727).

The Scripture Readings

Romans 8:2-13

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who liveaccording to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be [a]carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the [b]carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [c]through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Sonship Through the Spirit

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Matthew 10:16-22

Persecutions Are Coming

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. The Monastery is under the omophore of The Most Rev. Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.

2 comments:

  1. Good morning . Abbot Tryphon
    Greetings from The Bahamas.
    Thank you for your messages which always inspire and instruct me.
    My question is about prayer. Is it disrespectful to sit and pray or to pray whilst lying in bed etc?

    1. Absolutely no problem with sitting, even in the temple, when you need to. I pray every night once I’m in bed, as I like the idea of falling asleep, which in prayer. In this case, I am praying the Jesus Prayer.

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