Stand up comedy?

“Stood up,” Jesus stood up to read when he went to the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath. Let “stand up” or “stood up” roll around in your mind for a sec. Several pictures come to mind in addition to the pastor and congregation standing up for the reading of the Gospel.

We stand up to pledge allegiance to the flag of our country and sing our national anthem. Standing up as in going to one’s feet has a long history. In the 1600s it referred to being ready to defend one’s country. In 1902 in became connected to not appearing for an appointment eg I was stood up. In 1966, my life time, it was connected with comedy – Red Skelton. And then in 1956 it was used on the game show “To Tell the Truth” to identify truth: “Will the real ___ stand up.” But our text would add to the internet explanation of the origin that, in fact, back in Jesus time, it was customary to stand when reading Scripture: respect, defense, not forgetting, testifying and identifying the real thing. Jesus stood up to read and then sat down saying, the Scripture is fulfilled. He is the real thing.

Jesus stands up for us in the presence of God. He does not stand us up even when we do not feel his presence. He shares truth not humor. And we stand up in return to show respect when the Gospel is read. The Gospel reading is the high light of the church service, not the sermon.

So what are we standing up for today? That is a serious question in our present culture of demonstrations and demands. It is possible to stand up without respect and honor, only knowing partial truth and led by oratory, defending causes that do not touch our lives. Stand up comedy is still alive but not a one person show on TV. What do I stand up for? That is a serious question worth pondering today. But never forget that Jesus is standing up for you, not just in the synagogue but at the right hand of the Father. We may be caught in a battle but he is with us. Thank you Lord.

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