Posts Tagged ‘worship’

What Is She Doing Up There? -or- How I Use My Hands In Worship

Hand

Last Sunday was our once-a-month praise service at my small-town Texas, Lutheran church. I recently joined the praise team for these services and I want to tell you why I felt really vulnerable up there this past Sunday.

Well, of course, as a pastor’s wife, there’s always, always a sense of being in a fish bowl–like everyone is watching my family and me even when we’re minding our own business. Fortunately, most of the church members in the churches we have been in have been very respectful of and gracious toward us fish in the bowl. Our current church has been exceptionally warm to all three of us, so that was no more a factor than usual this past Sunday.

No, the reason why I felt vulnerable is because I use my hands a lot in church. And suddenly, being up front, facing the congregation, all of my gestures were on display.

Nobody said anything to me about it, but with my view facing them I kinda couldn’t help but notice that not many other people (if any) use their hands quite as much as I do.

And here’s the other thing…I have the propensity to offend people across the spectrum of Christian faith expressions because I’m as likely to make the sign of the cross as I am to raise my hands to praise the Lord. Some people might accuse me of being too “religious” or too “Catholic” for crossing myself whereas others might be put off by my charismatic tendencies when I raise my hands. I could face scrutiny for either one, but put them together and what will people say?

And maybe they won’t say anything. And maybe they didn’t think a thing of it. And it is quite possible that I’m overthinking the whole thing because I do that.

Then again, maybe, and this is a big maybe…but maybe somebody else out there has been worried about looking too religious or letting their charismatic spirituality show…As vulnerable as I feel up there doing the things I do with my hands, maybe it can help free up others to express their whole selves in worship?

It could happen.

~~~

This post has been added to Elizabeth Esther’s link-up: The Saturday Evening Blog Post, vol. 6, issue 2

Humorous video by Tim Hawkins about the different styles of hand raising: http://www.davidhousholder.com/raising-hands-in-church-0153-life-liberty/

If You Say So: Reflecting on These Holy Days

IMG_0561A basin of water, a fresh-baked loaf of bread, wine ready to be poured out, these are things we can get our hands on. These tangible things wash over us, fill our mouths, and warm us with the love of God.

God’s love is so deep it can’t be contained in a basin, a basket or a cup. It overflows all over the place, all over this whole world.

Jesus invites his followers to be a part of sharing that love. In fact he gives it as a new commandment (or “mandate” from which we get the term “Maundy Thursday).

Jesus says, “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another,” (John 13:34).

Yes, Lord. If you say so, we know it is good and right to do. We know it is right because you showed us. We know it is right because you did it first.

We know it is right, but do we do it? Do we really love as Jesus first loved us?

It is one thing to do to others as you would have them to do to you. We can weigh and measure such things.

Would I want my friend to talk to me in that tone of voice? Would I want my colleague to ignore a deadline? Would I want my son to flippantly say, “I don’t know“?

That kind of loving we understand. We may not always like it, but when we bring these questions to mind we can see a way forward.

This new commandment though, to love as Jesus loves? How do we even measure that kind of love? Even if we do take pause to think about the implications for that in our lives, how do we even begin to love that much?

The only way we could possibly begin to love that much is when we ourselves are completely overwhelmed with Jesus’ love in our lives.

That’s why we keep getting our feet washed, why we keep eating bread and drinking wine.

That’s why we keep returning to the cross. That’s why Good Friday is “good.”

We keep these rituals and practices to absorb the magnificence of Jesus’ love for us. And as we ourselves are immersed in that love, we are filled with it and we exude it and can’t help but overflow with it.

May God be with you in your observance of these holy days, as you experience the love of Jesus, soak in it, eat all the crumbs, and lap it up. May you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste his love as you return to the cross. May you be assured to the depths of your being that his love conquers death.

May his love fill you to overflowing.

To listen to an audio version of this reflection that I recorded for the Life & Liberty podcast click the overflowing fountain below: 

overflowing