– Why do we stand during church services?
– Some saint said, “Son, give me your heart, but not your legs.” Indeed, the Lord needs our hearts, but not our legs. What does it mean that He needs our hearts? All talks about love without a sacrifice are idle and sometimes even blasphemy. “I love you so much,” says a man, “but I will not stop smoking even for your sake.” Some people cannot do the simplest thing and say they love someone. You prove your words are sincere when you give your heart, when you make a sacrifice. Then your words are true. So, in these words, “Son, give me your heart, but not your legs” we can see the relation between the heart and the legs. Of course, there are extreme cases when people are really sick and they need to sit. This is a different story than when people are lazy and not even ready to make a small sacrifice for Christ’s sake.
Why do we stand during church services? We make a sacrifice for God. We compel ourselves. That is how we prove our love is supported by our deeds. All Orthodox asceticism is built on this basis: we always sacrifice for the sake of our Beloved One. The contemporary liberals say, “God does not need your earthly bowings and all that stuff. You just need to love everyone and that’s it.” No, you will not be able to love everyone without going through asceticism, which will force your ego out of you. Otherwise, your ego will not let you love anyone. It will always prevail. True love starts when egotism is defeated. In order to defeat egotism, one needs to practice asceticism – for a long time, throughout one’s whole life. Be ruthless and strict with yourself. It is trivial to speak about love without asceticism.
Archpriest Sergiy Baranov