Stand If You Are Able. Don’t Fret If You Can’t.

stand if you are ableI recently spent a few days visiting my mom in Ohio and one of the things that we did was attend church on Sunday morning at her home church, Christ United Methodist in Alliance.  She has come to love this congregation over the past 14 years or so and after attending with her numerous times during that time I can certainly understand why.  They are a gracious and welcoming congregation and I always enjoy the services.  I think one of the things that I really enjoy about their services are that there is a certain “ritual” still associated with worship.  The Lord’s Prayer, affirmations and singing the Doxology always make me feel connected to my faith and the hymns, especially this past visit, were ones that mean a lot to me.  I love contemporary worship, I love all kinds of music in worship but at times I really find myself feeling more centered when I am in a traditional service with all of the things that are a part of it.

I had noticed a phrase on their bulletin the last time I had worshiped with them and had promptly forgotten to write it down. This time I whipped out my phone and typed it into my “blog post list” so I would not forget it again.  The following words are printed at the bottom of the bulletin :

Stand if you are able.  Don’t fret if you can’t.

I absolutely love that they include that every week for their congregation that has a majority in attendance who are “seniors”.  Having spent a good chunk of time with my mom that week I could understand that that might be a real concern for many in that congregation who just can’t stand for each hymn and prayer and affirmation.

I also think it has great meaning for all of us.  There are many things in our lives that we can control.  But there are also many  things that are impossible to control.  Fretting about them does not help us one iota to change the things that we cannot do anything about.  Some days we may be strong and able to stand but some days–yes–some days—we just need to sit a spell and let others around us stand and be the strong ones.  That is okay.  It is okay to sit down every once in awhile when others are standing.  It is certainly better to not fret about those times and to just enjoy and live in the moment.

So today—a few words from a bulletin should be taken to heart.  Don’t fret.  It will all be okay.


  1. Those little comments do tell quite a bit about a congregation and its attitudes, don’t they? i love that someone was wise enough to put that word of permission in the bulletin. Learning to deal with the limitations of age or disability is hard – it’s good to be supported in that way.

    I saw something else for the first time when I stopped by a local Methodist church this week. There was a “Baby Changing Station” sign on the women’s restroom door. Right across from it, on the door to the men’s room, there was an identical sign. It makes so much sense, and probably has popped up elsewhere, but I’ve never seen it.

  2. Lovely post. How nice you could attend with your mother. There is a lot of up and down at the traditional service, and at the contemporary it’s not unusual to stand up for the whole “praise” part.
    Right now, I’m so happy to have Rick stand and deal with all the folks who are bringing this house a bit up to date.

    • Georgette—It is always so nice to be able to attend worship with her. It is a special time. I can imagine it is nice to have Rick deal with all the “folks” who are working on the house. Ugh.

  3. I love this post this morning Beth. I am not always able to “stand” and it is a relief to know that I don’t always have to. After 62 years I think that’s okay.. 🙂 It’s a little like being able to say no to things that don’t work for me or that I am not comfortable with. And like Georgette, it is nice to have CH handle a bit of the hard stuff that I had handled all our married life until he retired in 2007. I think he gets tired of standing sometimes too. Sometimes, all it takes is a post like yours to let me exhale a little sigh of relief and start my day with a new perspective.

    • It is exactly like being able to say “no” to some things. WE can’t be expected to do it all. Everyone has their limits and sometimes we are a bit self conscious if what we do does not “fit in”. In this church they try to downplay that and it is a nice feeling. Glad you liked the post today.

  4. I like how they phrase it! Sounds like a welcoming and fun congregation.

  5. I like that. My church bulletin says: First Presbyterian Church welcomes you just as you are–a child of God. I like that, too.

  6. Seems I’ve sat a lot lately.

    What a great reminder. Thank you. This is another “for your devotional book” piece. Well written. Wonderful message.

    I, too, prefer the comfort of a traditional worship service over contemporary. But I sure love listening to contemporary Christian music on KTIS.

  7. Yep, you’re absolutely right. Fretting about things out of our control doesn’t do one bit of good. I always have to remember that ‘God’s got this.’ Thanks, I needed that reminder today!! 🙂

  8. It reminds me of the verse: “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries of its own.”

  9. I am in total agreement about the traditional services. Recently I attended my niece’s church for her baptism, and except for one hymn, everything was praise choruses. And they’re okay, but there were no hymnals, and the words were displayed on the wall. Makes it difficult for anyone not familiar with the songs to sing along…!
    I took piano for a few years as a child, and the majority of what I played was hymns, so they’re very special to me.
    But to get back to the main topic of your post, we do all need to fret less! So happy for that little reassurance for those in the congregation not physically able to stand.

    • I understand what you are saying about the traditions and learning hymns as a child. I do love the praise choruses and the upbeat tunes but sometimes you just want the familiar and tried and true, right? I am so glad that there are so many options for everyone out there so that each can find the exact worship that is most meaningful to them.

  10. How welcoming!! No wonder this church provides such a positive experience for so many people, when they’re made to feel accepted and appreciated, regardless of their limitations.

  11. What a great message. Just another way that church makes everyone feel welcome. And a great message for me. As I struggle with being unemployed as well as the everyday stresses of my life, some days I just want to sit. Thank you for reminding me that that’s OK.

  12. Do your best. We’ll meet you where you are. A good approach to the world summed up beautifully in the verse… Stand if you’re able, don’t fret if you can’t.

  13. I remember when Kelvin’s mother died, it was only 9 days after my gallbladder operation. We lived 15 hours drive away by car. We had traveled to see her when she initially had the stroke & gone back home to take care of our business. Only a day later the call came she had had another stroke & they didn’t expect her to survive. Kelvin rushed back to Wpg. to be with his mother while I ran our grocery store. She passed away 2 days later, so I took a bus to Wpg. to be with Kelvin for the funeral. By the time we got to the grave site I was completely done in & it must have been close to 100 degrees out with no shade to shelter us. I had to keep returning to our truck & put the air conditioning on. Some members of his family looked askance at me. He was quick to point out I was still recovering from surgery & had made at least 2 trips to Wpg. while trying to get back on my feet. I did the best I could that day & even though both Kelvin & I were shattered over his mother’s death, we were thoughtful enough to help each other through it as much as we were able.

    • Exactly! You cared for each other as much as you could. What an ordeal. But being with one another and having the support is vital, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your story.

  14. what a great saying…. and i am sure it makes so many people feel better

  15. How perfect! I love the idea that it is OK not to be perfect all the time. We all need reminding. I’m glad you had a nice time with your mother. It’s so hard when they live away from you. I’m sure she was delighted to have you there.

  16. I’ve heard some older members of the congregation mention how hard it is on them to stand for any length of time. How nice your mom’s church puts them at ease about remaining seated, or sitting when they need to.

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