I serve a “happy clappy” congregation. Worship is a genuine celebration and unlike other Lutheran congregations, it is not uncommon to have spirited clapping, an occasional conga line for the closing hymn and people with their weekly hands raised up in the air to praise Jesus.
I will clap. I will sing. I will dance. But it’s not in my nature to raise my hands. But then there was this one song in the first few weeks after I arrived, and many times since. Only for this song do I find myself unable to keep my hands down. It is Chris Tomlin’s song, I Lift My Hands, and here’s the chorus:
I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember
You are faithful, God, forever
I love that. I lift my hands to believe again. Meaning, maybe I’m not feeling it today so I’m going to lift my hands. Yes, of course, it is easy to see raised arms in happy clappy times of joy. And in times of deep sorrow we can lift our (hearts) and hands to God. I am so grateful for this community that is brave enough to have joy and lament standing together. Those standing side by side who are so filled with faith that it is exuding right through the tippy tops of their outstretched hands and the broken arms of a pastor and so many others that lift their hands to funnel God back into us.