Sunday, July 3, 2011

Must we act out the lyrics of worship songs? (Video)

"We stand and lift up our hands."

As we sing these words of the Chris Tomlin praise song in church everyone feels obligated to stand and lift up their hands.

OK, not everyone. Almost everyone feels obligated to stand. Those who never lift up their hands still don't do so even though they do feel obligated to stand.

I have one friend who bucks the trend. He says he's not going to stand just because some human being says he ought to stand. He'll stand when the Spirit tells him to. Although this morning he did stand at the line, "We stand and lift up our hands." Maybe the Spirit just happened to move him at that exact point in the song today. Or maybe it was because he was sitting on the front row.

Hey, I'm not judging him, because I always A) stand and B) lift up my hands when the line is sung, and I do so specifically because the line says it -- even though I sometimes both stand and lift up my hands during other songs because the Spirit leads me to. And sometimes I neither stand nor lift up my hands in other songs even though the Spirit does lead me to because, you know what, no one else is doing it -- or at least not many others are.

And I'm not talking about when I'm in a church where people don't make that kind of outward expression -- I'm talking about where I'm in the kind where they do, and where I'm comfortable doing it, but I don't do it because right then and there I'm afraid someone will think I'm putting on a show or being all holy-holy.

But back to that standing-and-lifting-our-hands song. Do you remember the next line? It's "We bow down and worship Him now."

Do you know how many of those people who stood and lifted their hands bowed down in unison at that line? Zero!

So my friend who never stood up to start with is the one who was in the right all along and the rest of are hypocrites! (Well, excepting for today he stood up -- but he still didn't lift up his hands, mind you.)

This was all after the singing of another song in which Jesus is called "The Rose of Sharon." Something struck me funny there, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Turns out my friend Googled it. During the passing of the peace he tells it was the Shulamite woman in the Song of Solomon who says she is the Rose of Sharon. So if you are among those you make the Song into a parable of Christ and the Church, shouldn't the Rose of Sharon be the Bride of Christ, not the Groom?

That's what he and I thought, though I have since found there are others who don't agree.

That notwithstanding, it's a great song. The peace of God be with you:

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Photo: Bibliothèque de Toulouse. Domaine public

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