Day Four: Clap and Raise Your Hands

Psalm 47:1

Clap your hands, all your nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

In continuation from yesterday, “The Posture of Worship,” we learned from scripture that God desires our worship to be genuine. We learned that worship means “to fall down before” or “bow down before” God. What about other forms of expression?

I think for conservative people, like us Baptists, expression during worship is uncomfortable or even off-putting to some. However, I think this is one of those areas where we need to grow. Someone comes into worship with hands raised, dancing, expressive in nature and next thing you know, we’re calling in security. I’ve had people misunderstand clapping at the end of a song as if it were for entertainment value rather than to demonstrate our accord with what we just sang. As if to say “Amen to that.” We come to praise and even celebrate God with our songs, but to the outside world it probably looks more like a funeral or a ritual. This shouldn’t sit well with us.

The Bible says clap your hands and even anthropomorphically that creation claps its hands in worship (Isaiah 55:12, Psalm 98:8), shouts for joy to the Lord (Psalm 100:1, Psalm 98), and lifts up holy hands to the Lord (1 Timothy 2:8, Psalm 63:4). There are an abundance of examples in scripture of worship and yet there is not just one prescription. But I know what worship is not. It’s not disinterest, anger, judgment, selfish, ritualistic, obligatory but rather personal, reflective, thankful, humble, joyful, Christ centered and, yes, expressive.

Reading: Psalm 63, Psalm 98, Psalm 100

Song: Ryan Stevenson – With Lifted Hands