Written by Rachel Snyder
…like you just don’t care!
I’ve been contemplating worship lately. Specifically, my focus for the past few weeks has been on the act of putting hands up during the musical praise and worship in church. Why do we do this? I mean, CLEARLY only the awesomest, most devout of Christians would attempt a daring deed like raising their arms and singing at the same time.
Whoa. May as well ask me to rub my head and pat my belly! Or, wait—I mean, rub my belly and…nevermind.
Why do we do it? Or, maybe more importantly, why don’t we do it? We mostly don’t do it because of what the people around us think. Will they think I’m genuine? Will she feel compelled to raise hers if I raise mine? Should I raise my hands because my neighbor is raising her hand? One hand or two? All the way up or keep them at my waist? What am I supposed to be feeling during this? Is it based on a feeling at all? Am I still a Christian if I just grip the pew in front of me the whole time? What does this even mean?! Tell me your brain has never entertained these thoughts!
I decided to research this seemingly incredible feat of faith. Raising your hands can mean different things, apparently. You can raise them as a blessing, showing God you’re applying to Him the honor and glory due Him. You can also raise your hands as kind of a standing bow—a way to show reverence and humility before your King. It can be an act of witness, like you’re saying, “Yes! All of these things are true! I have experienced God in these very things!” That’s definitely a popular posture during worship music, so we’re communicating the words of the song to God on a deeper level. Raising your hands to God can also be a posture of surrender.
And that’s where I stopped researching.
Surrender. Ggah. Like, handing over everything in my life to God. Pride. Control. My heart. My soul. My mind.
This changes the game. Honestly, if raising my hands is about surrendering to God, I should be walking around with my hands in the air 24/7. Yes, please, take this life from me! I don’t know what I’m doing! You know better, so just take control! That level of commitment to God has nothing to do with what your neighbor thinks or whether or not you’re “comfortable” raising your hands. It’s whether you’re surrendered to God 24/7, not during three minutes of a particularly moving song.
I’ve found myself in church service several times since contemplating this. It doesn’t matter what the song is, whether or not I like it, whether or not the words mean anything to me. This one thought now runs through my head at some point during the singing: Am I surrendered to God? As soon as that thought crosses my mind, my hands go up. No thought to my neighbors, no thought to the music. Just the repeating phrase in my heart and mind, God, please take my life. It’s yours. Use it for your glory.
Now the question is this: Am I willing to put my hands up other days of the week, when there’s no music playing, when I haven’t just heard a compelling message? Whenever that thought, Am I surrendered to God?, crosses my mind, am I willing to put my hands up right there and then? Essentially, am I leading a life of worship? A life of surrender? Can you put your hands up and offer yourself in surrender no matter what your circumstances at this very minute?
And that has nothing to do with the person next to you in the pew on Sunday.
Where are you in your journey of surrender?