"Oh my gosh--that is so embarrassing!" my best friend Kelly and I used to say whenever "she" raised her hand during worship time.
We couldn't believe our fellow church member was so demonstrative in her worship. After all, we grew up in a pretty conservative church. And this was 20 years ago. Even her one-raised-hand was one gutsy move in that environment; that sort of thing just didn't really "happen." If you really, really wanted to get down with your bad self, you clapped to the beat. And usually ON the beat, not that super-edgy-off-the-beat kind of clapping.
And yet so many years later, a lot has changed in my own personal worship. I find that my body wants to reflect the posture of my heart. Not every time, not every song, not every prayer. But more than I feel comfortable doing so.
I want to be able to lift my hands sometimes, but I feel reserved in doing so. Probably because, at my church, the majority don't raise theirs. And there's a tremendous pull in me to just simply...well, blend. I'm not exactly looking to stick out like a sore thumb. And so--even in my expressions of worship--I just want to go with the flow and not attract attention.
But I can't help thinking of King David who, in 2 Samuel 6, got a little....how shall I say....Pentecostal-errific in his worship.
When the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the tent David had prepared for it, Scripture says he leaped and danced before the LORD with all his might.
I'm sure that was quite the scene. We're talking *way* beyond the one raised hand or clapping on the off-beat. Maybe even jazz hands were involved.
Well, his wife was watching all of this from a window above, and she was mortified by David's undignified worship. Once she had a moment alone with him, she chastised him and rebuked his actions.
"That was before the LORD who chose me and appointed me," King David replied, "and I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and will be humiliated in my own eyes."
King David was unapologetic about his response of worship. Even when it made others uncomfortable. Even when those closest to him didn't get it. He simply said his actions were before--and FOR--the God who had chosen him and appointed him, and he would willingly become more undignified, more humiliated, if that's what a response of worship warranted.
I wish I was even half as bold in my own worship. No, I've never felt compelled to leap before the LORD, nor dance with all my might (although that is a pretty funny mental image). But there are times I want to respond MORE with my body. Sometimes I want both hands stretched upward. Sometimes I want to kneel. Sometimes I want to sit and let His love fall on me.
But instead, I usually just stand. Dignified. A well-behaved worshipper.
LORD God, our worship is for YOU, and You alone. It is not for others--not even the ones with whom we share a sanctuary. Keep our eyes so totally fixed on YOU, Jesus, that we cannot help but respond in whatever way You lead, no matter how it may look. Let us be more undignified, more humiliated, if You might be lifted up in such an offering.
* For a humorous take on hand-raising in worship, click *HERE* to check out this post from Jon Acuff's Stuff Christians Like. Makes me laugh every time--and now when I'm in worship I picture myself holding a pound cake--or a watermelon! :D