The Greatest Gift of the Reformation?
Sitting in worship. Well, maybe it isn’t the greatest, but for some it ranks pretty high up on the list! It is true that sitting in worship didn’t become “regular” until the Protestant Reformation. Before the Reformation in the 1500’s there were only two acceptable practices in worship for the better part of 1200 years: standing or kneeling. Because the service was almost always conducted in Latin and because much of it was not even understood (acoustics and learning being what they were after all) people would mill around the sanctuary visiting and generally taking in the spectacle of the mass. Sleeping during the service would have been difficult!
So, what changed during the Reformation that brought seating into worship? There were actually two things that radically altered the worship landscape: preaching and language. The center of worship shifted from the Eucharist to the exposition of the Word (preaching) in the language of the people. Those were the changes that eventually brought benches and then pews into the meeting house.
In most protestant churches, the Word has retained its spot at the center of worship but we shouldn’t take that for granted. There are a myriad of things that could potentially dislodge the Word from its center position so we must stay on guard. Your pastors and elders here at LOPC are committed to the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura as our only rule for faith and practice. AND...chairs in worship.
Pastor Sam Smith