I grew up in an era in which Christianity mistakenly thought it was our job to judge everyone else and each other, too. So I used to judge people who expressed their praise for God with their arms lifted high to Him.
My fellowship of Christianity didn’t do that. So it had to be wrong. Besides, I couldn’t understand why (unless wishing to draw undue attention to themselves) anyone would want to do such a thing.
That is … until I had children.
And I began to understand that my power to judge and have compassion is as weak and immature as His power is perfect. From Psalm 103:
Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases …
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
It’s hard to resist a child. When a child asks you to help with something she can’t do; get something he can’t reach; kiss a boo-boo or provide an outstretched-arm full-body lift-me-up-and-hold-me-tight hug … it’s hard to say no. It’s their shameless humility that captures our hearts. They are fragile of body, mind and spirit. They need us. No one else will do. They reach out for the only one who cares, who will help, who will comfort.
So we must be with God.
And though I worship with the same fellowship and do not draw undue attention to myself by lifting my hands (thereby inviting judgment) – sometimes I close my eyes during our times of praise together and imagine myself reaching out to my Father in the loving surround of a much larger fellowship ….
8 thoughts on “HeartWorship: As A Little Child”
And so we continue to live below?far below?our privileged position in Christ. Why? Is it because we (and by that I just mean you AND ME) are more concerned about the negative reactions of others than responding to the child-like yearning to lift up our hands to the Lord?>>May God grant us the courage to change, becoming like little children in our entering in and experience of the kingdom of Christ!>>Thank you for prompting us to think about these things!
Amazing what we learn when we have children. Thanks for the reminder of Gods word. It has answered a long time question for me today.>>peace.
Keith,>this post makes me sort of sad.
Keith, I will honor any decision you make in regards to your worship….but I do want to offer a few words of encouragement. I’m wondering if LOTS of others in your congregation just might be sitting there hoping a Keith Brenton will take the lead in showing that it is ok to show our yearning for God by raising our hands? Is that a possibility? This could be an Esther moment for you! 🙂 You know your motive, so why are you letting the judgemental spirit of another control your worship? This is not something that you are giving up for the good of others. My guess is that you are doing it to keep the peace. Status quo KILLS any growth the Spirit has for your fellowship. ALWAYS. Growth as in SPIRITUAL growth. >>“Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil”.>>Love you bro!>DU
I am thankful for your recognition of “other possibilities” for hand raising – as others mentioned, isn’t it amazing that our children teach us so much.>>Yet I am also saddened that such a simple expression is beyond a comfort zone, or that the spirit of fear wins over the spirit of expressing to God. This is one of those situations where I feel (strongly) that you would NOT be a “stumbling block” to anyone (though it would not surprise me if that phrase were used against you) but simply be an honest worshipper expressing his heart to his God. I guess this is a “hot button” for me as a lifer in the CoC. I’m just so tired of that kind of fear winning!!! And I live that way far too much.>>Thanks for the thoughts. I really appreciate your heart as revealed in your blog.
Commandment 11 : Thou shalt not squelch thy neighbor’s worship
I am not surprised that you feel this way knowing where you worship. It sounds like you find yourself among hearts that you think are judgmental. So is raising your hands a problem for your own protectivism, your judgemental neighbors, or for your God?
Anonymous:>>I love my church. I’m saddened that you’ve associated a bad feeling with it; perhaps even more saddened that your comment sounds bitter about it.>>I was too busy subbing at the worship visuals/sound console this morning to become as engaged as I would have liked to be.>>But this evening – encouraged by some of my blogging friends here – while singing the second verse of “In Moments Like These,” I found myself lifting my hands as I had so often felt moved to do.>>And I was only about a quarter of a second ahead of our missions minister sitting right in front of me.>>Perhaps I did judge my siblings at PV too strictly.>>If so, please don’t make the same mistake I did.