March 22, 2013

:on raising your hands in worship:

growing up southern baptist there is always the not-so-subtle "amen!" exclaimed during the preaching part of the service. i imagine an amen to the pastor may very well be what a comment is to a blogger. a there-you-go. go-on-ya. job-well-done. we all need that from time to time but i always found the yelling of a word during a church service more alarming than inspiring.

the same goes for raising hands in worship. i find myself looking around at who is raising their hands and thinking wow, they are really in tune with god. when i went away to college at a christian university my freshman year, we were required to attend convocation three times per week. there was always some sort of inspirational music and a speaker, some i enjoyed, some not so much. 

though it was more than fifteen years ago i can still see this girl so plainly in my memory. she had long flowing hair, wavy, unkept. she wore broom skirts, actually ALL girls wore skirts even in 20 degree weather and snow, thank you very much legalism. either way she wore broom skirts and had a gypsy feel to her right down to her name, joy. 

joy was flamboyant, a free spirit of sorts. during the inspirational music, no matter the song, she stood arms high, swaying in rhythm to the music,  much like Neil saying, "tay in a win." i don't remember any musical performances from that year. none. not one. i only remember joy raising her hands in worship. 

i tried it once. moved by the words of Shout to the Lord, i found myself in the midst of hundreds of students, lifting my hands to the sky. there i was standing hands raised eyes closed and all i could think was does this look right? am i keeping time? it's hard to keep time with your eyes closed. am i squinting? people truly worshipping don't squint. oh no, i'm sweating! can anyone see me sweating? dear lord, when will this song be over? i can't put my hands down before the song ends, what message will that send?

needless to say i have continued in my journey of worship and praise without raising my hands. that is until i heard these words:

so break my step and relent
you forgave and i won't forget.... 
raise my hands 
paint my spirit gold and bow my head 
keep my heart slow

yes, to these words, i lifted hands high in between drumming beats on the steering wheel in time to the rhythm that moves my soul. i did not ask the questions above. they were unnecessary for there was only an audience of One. 

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly what you mean.
    I went through this exact same thing growing up in a Presbyterian Church.
    My mom and a few others would always lift their hands, but I never felt inspired to do the same.
    But after moving on and visiting a few different churches (in search of one that felt like "home") I found myself lifting my hands without thinking twice. It just came naturally and felt right-- and now I almost always lift my hands.
    But when I do find myself wondering what I look like, I just keep my hands down. No need to fake the funk. God sees the heart. =)
    Great post!


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