Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Lift up your hands in the Sanctuary and bless the Lord." [Psalms 134:2]
The Psalmist encourages us to bless the Lord; to bless Him during worship in our church(es); to lift up our hands and bless Him.
Strange looks and sideways glances are the usual fruit one has to pick if they lift their hands in church. At some point in the history of our church we turned shy and self conscious; so much so that to be overt in one's worship (lift up the hands, say "Amen" too frequently, stand up during especially moving music, stand up during Spirit led preaching, and other modest signs of being inspired and moved during worship, and one may be accused of intentionally drawing attention to themselves.
And that's why I really love black churches and black preachers. They are not hobbled by the man-made traditions of Protestant, puritanistic propriety, so-called. We could call it "undignified" to exhibit enthusiasm for our Lord. We could be called exhibitionists for yielding to emotions of Holy love and gratitude for our Saviour. We could be called, 'fanatical.' Do we care?
Yes. I think we do care enough about the opinions of others to allow ourselves to be subdued into not caring enough to send Jesus Christ 'the very best.' I find that sad and sorrowing.
I've mentioned this before (so forgive me) but if you remember the beautiful paintings by Harry Anderson, one shows a family looking heavenward as Christ returns to the earth. Inspiring as it is the painting contains a curiosity; one character (obviously the father of the family) is wearing a suit; like he just came from church rather than from a ..."time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation..." [Daniel 12:1]
Honestly, I can't really remember, but I'm wondering if anyone in that painting has their hands raised in praise to God. I think there is...perhaps in the lower left corner of the piece. If anybody out there knows for certain, or if I'm mistaken about the 'suit thing' I'd like to know.
Just once today lift up your hands and praise the Lord. If we tried it we might like it; we already know He wants our praise.
Blessings. e.c.

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