Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lord, make me a hand-raiser!

So I explained my newfound joy of singing during my quiettime. This week at my Bible Study we read in 2 Kings 4 a story of the prophet Elisha that I’d never heard before.

It was during a time of famine and Elisha was with a group of prophets. They were hungry, of course. The men started making a stew, and one of the prophets saw a vine with gourds on it that were “unrecognizable.” He cut them up and put them in the stew (duh, what else would you do with something you can’t recognize but eat it? My toddler lives by the same strategy…). The men ate one bite of the stew and said “There is death in the pot.” I’m sorry, but I can’t help cracking up at this. Tell me you haven’t had a “death in the pot” cooking experience where whatever you are making turned out horribly gross. I had that just yesterday when I tried to invent my own chocolate-peanut butter smoothie blend. Definitely death in the blender…….
Anyhow…Elisha put some flour in the stew and the men were able to eat it and the scripture says, “and there was nothing harmful in the pot.” Through our class discussion we talked about how this points to Jesus and someone mentioned that Jesus is our remedy. I started thinking about the David Crowder Band song “Remedy” and printed out the words for my quiettime today. I sang the song as I watered…….which leads to part 2.

The song explains that Jesus came to earth. Loved us in a way we can’t understand. Freed us from sin. Saved us. Embraced us, cured us and serves to be our remedy that brings relief.

Here is the next part of lyrics:
So we lift up our voices
And open our hands
Let go of the things
That have kept us from

I started thinking about worship and the “hand-raisers.” I’m not a “hand-raiser.” I grew up in a church where there was no hand-raising, no eye closing, and hardly even any swaying. I remember hearing the story about King David dancing before the Lord in his undies and being mortified but also fascinated at his lack of inhibition. Lately God has led me to a place where I understand the intentions of my church family where I grew up, but I want something different for my daughter. I want her to worship God with David’s unabandonment, yet I want her to understand why God deserves this, and not merely be exercising raw emotion. Perhaps the word I am looking for is balance.

So back to David C. and his Remedy lyrics. In corporate worship we strive to explain to our little one everything that is going on. To teach her the “why” behind the routines and liturgies. I pray she will grow up questioning every single act performed in corporate worship because I want her Daddy and I to get to sit down with her and teach her the reasons explained in God’s word.

Okay, so really back to David C. now. He opened my eyes to another reason for raising our hands to God. It can be a visual representation of the act of “let(ting) go of the things that have kept us from Him.” This is so very scriptural. God calls us to “let go” when we come together in worship. To let go of division (1 Cor. 11:18). Let go of selfishness and self-focus (1 Cor 11:19; 1 Cor 14:26), tradition (OUCH!) (Mk 7), and that’s just a few. Paul calls us to “examine ourselves” (1 Cor. 11:28). Perhaps raising our hands in worship is a way for us to show God and eachother that we have examined our hearts and are letting go of whatever it is that keeps us from Him so that there’s room for Him in our heart. What power there is in this simple act! Imagine if I trained myself to do this every Sunday. Imagine if I trained myself to do this every DAY!

So that’s my answer when the day comes where my daughter asks why people are raising hands in worship. And my prayer? That we can lead her to the spiritual discipline of locating and releasing the things in her life that distance her from God so that she might live her life as a “hand-raiser.” I don’t think I will look at my hands the same way ever again……