Friday, May 25, 2007

Worship With Your Body

In the church tradition in which I grew up, "worship" has been limited to a fairly narrow, rigid set of acts that have been determined to be "scriptural", with little room for variation (compared to the variation one might find in general "Christendom").

Over the past few years I've begun to question that mentality, which among other things looks askance at lifting of hands during worship, especially when I read such passages as 1 Timothy 2:8 which reads:
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
Just now while doing some clean-up work on old email, I came across a message from a friend who made an interesting statement on an unrelated topic. She wrote:
I have often thought of how the Jews used their bodies in worship: hands, bowing down, etc.
And that clicked with me. Worship should involve the whole person, not just a portion of us. I've never understood what the value of raising hands might be, or of bowing, or of dancing (well, except for being happy), but this makes sense. Such activities involve our bodies in worship, and not just our minds, and thus draw a fuller portion of our spirits into worship.

I'm not suggesting we have a free-for-all in our assemblies; we do have a call to conduct ourselves decently and with order. I also realize that some folks just can't get past the mental block we've grown up with, and I would not want to exercise my freedom at the expense of their discomfort or offense. But it seems to me that by eliminating physical involvement in worship, we've short-changed ourselves from participating in an even closer communion with the source of true Life.

Of course, I reckon this now means I'll have to learn to kneel ....

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