The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “protocol” as “a system of rules that explain the correct conduct and procedures to be followed in formal situations.” When meeting any high ranking dignitary there is an understood etiquette that needs to be learned and adopted or else there could be dire consequences.
Correct Protocol: Meeting the Queen
At London’s Buckingham Palace, should you be given the privilege of an invitation to have an audience with her Majesty, you cannot just walk in to the Palace unannounced. A time and date is scheduled, and it is extremely offensive to be late for your meeting.
Before the actual meeting takes place, you would be escorted into a room where for several minutes a Palace official will explain correct procedure and protocol. These include the following:
When the Queen enters a room, all in attendance are to stand.
Men are to bow, women are to curtsy.
When first meeting the Queen, she should be addressed as “Your Majesty” and then afterwards as “Ma’am.”
If her Majesty is accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, he should be addressed as “Your Royal Highness” rather than “Your Majesty,” because he is of a lower rank than the Queen. After the initial greeting, the Duke of Edinburgh may be addressed as “Sir” and then, when departing, as “Your Royal Highness” again.
Should you be eating a meal with the Queen, everyone should stop eating when she does.
Furthermore, you must wait until the Queen extends her hand towards you before you can shake hands with her. You are not to initiate any physical contact. There are to be absolutely no hugs, kisses on the cheek or touching of the shoulder.
Always wait for her Majesty to initiate any conversation with you.
And, never, for any reason, turn your back on the Queen.
If this is the protocol for interaction with an earthly ruler, what does the Bible say regarding protocol for God Himself, the King of kings and Lord of lords?
Correct Protocol: Coming Before God
God could have stipulated that we come before Him with a plate of exotic fruit found only from the tallest tree in the Amazon jungle, which would make receiving an audience with Him extremely difficult for most of the world’s population. He could even have requested that we bring a certain measure of gold or silver or precious stone. But He has done no such thing. Instead, He gives us these instructions in Psalm 100:
1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Psalm 95:1-3 also says: “Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods”
From the Scriptures we learn that the correct protocol for approaching God is simply to come by grace alone through faith alone. Through His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the ability to come before God with glad and thankful hearts as we make a joyful noise and sing His praises.
Selah (stop, think, pause, meditate)