Some time, I think in the 1980s, I recall being very struck and not a little horrified when on holiday in Cornwall I attended the Eucharist in a nearby evangelical church. Not, perhaps, as recollected as I should have been, I suddenly awoke to the fact that the celebrant had just told us that "Maureen" was going to read to us. And that Maureen was reading the Gospel Passage appointed for the day. And that she, and all the congregation, were sitting comfortably.
A forage into Jungmann affords the information that, for as far back as the data go, it has been the practice throughout the Ecumene for the Gospel to be proclaimed by a Minister, and proclaimed with as much solemnity as circumstances allowed.
Early liturgical texts tend to be erratic in the information they give about bodily posture among the laity. Sarum gave no guidance; and the Anglican Books of Common Prayer provided no information until 1662.
But in that year, the occasion of a catholicising revision and under the influence of Bishop Cosin of Durham, "the people all standing up" was added to the rubrics.
Surely, this Standing represents an important sacramental of Catholic Worship. We stand because of our immense respect for the One whose Words are being proclaimed. But I incline to think that there is even more to it that that.
I think I would go so far as to speculate on the propriety of using here the word Transsubstantiation.
The Words which fly from the lips of His authorised Minister become, as they fly through the sound-waves to our ear drums, transsubstantiated into the very words of the Incarnate Lord Himslf.
I do not think that, at Holy Mass, we are listening to a historical account. I suspect I am hearing the living summons to obedience from my living Lord.
Or, as I write this, am I allowing myself to get over-excited?