Friday, September 25, 2009

Raise Your Hands If...

Raising or lifting of hands is pretty much universally accepted as a form of worship. It can signify surrender to or exaltation of the one to whom the hands are raised. Remote and uncivilized tribes do it. People of every religion known to man do it. It's a little less common in North America where things that can't be measured scientifically are regarded with a bit of skepticism. It's pretty abstract and mystical to raise your hands to someone or something that can't be seen.

The Bible mentions lifting hands to God seven times. In all but one, it's mentioned as, "I will," or "Let us lift...". Only once is it stated in the imperative: "Lift your hands in holiness, and bless the Lord." (Ps. 134:2) Now, I'm not about to make a doctrine of raising hands: Thou shalt raise thy hands lest thou be considered carnal. No way! I just want to tell you a story.

I like raising my hands to God. In the same way that bursting out laughing feels better than choking it down, raising my hands in worship feels like a release. Somehow having the posture of my body reflect the attitude of my heart is a feeling of alignment. I do try to control this impulse when it might make people uncomfortable. Like, you know, when you're in the bank and you find out you have more money than you thought you did. I've been known to forget a time or two when I'm out for a walk (a really good time for conversations with God), but the men in white jackets haven't come for me yet, so perhaps it just looked like I was waving at someone?

I also love discovering what I call the "mysteries of God". Nature reflects God in a million different ways. From simple things like the way a caterpillar turns into a butterfly to really complex things that I'm not smart enough to explain, we find demonstrations of who God is. The story of His love is reflected in a thousand different facets. Every time I encounter another one of these treasures I get so excited!

So, one day I was listening to the radio and they were doing a talk show about breast cancer (in men and women, just in case any of you guys were about to stop reading). According to the doctor they were interviewing, maintaining healthy lymph glands in your underarm area is a really important part of prevention. It seems that the ones in the underarm area don't drain very well on their own, but there are two things we can do to help. The first mentioned was the action of jumping up and down--thus the rebounder craze. The second?? Lifting your arms. I didn't hear the rest of the program. All I could think was, "Wow, God!! You mean when I lift my hands in praise to You, not only is my spirit lifted, but my body is made healthier too? Body, soul, and spirit, I'm detoxified by the act of praising You? Wow! Wow! Wow!!" And I feel like my Daddy is chuckling because He's made those little surprises for us and He's delighted when we discover them.

Why are thou cast down, O my soul?
And why art thou disquieted within me?
Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him,
Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
(Psalm 43:5 KJV)


  1. "Rebounder craze"?? Like...the little trampolines?

    This post makes a health guru and believer like me really happy!

  2. Yep, like the little trampolines. Twenty years ago it seemed like everyone had one!

  3. I read this while I was away... and I raised my hands in this manner for the very first time at Convention this year. I hadn't ever done it before I read this blog, because I didn't understand the purpose... was I supposed to physically "feel" something? Right. A sceptic like me really had a hard time with that one.

    But then, when I did it and I knew that I was doing it as an act of worship and surrender to The One who was and is working great things in and through me, well, I got it! And although I didn't feel a tingling sensation or anything (does anyone ever?) I did feel an amazing ... submission.

    I can't say I'll be comfortable enough to do such a thing in our home church, but I can say that thanks to your blog I GET it! (And if you watch closely -- but please don't -- my palms might just be turned upward when we're singing.)