Hands Up

Some experiences are just hard to forget. I have had the opportunity of attending dozens of incredible concerts in my life. These memories include U2, DMB, Jimmie Buffett, Blue Men Group, Run DMC, INXS, B.B. King, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Newsboys, Switchfoot, Caedmon’s Call, Phil Keaggy, and many more. Some of these were “Christian” artists, many of them were not. All of those experiences had a spiritual element to them. Music is inherently other worldly, it goes down deep to the soul of a man.

I will never forget a moment during the U2 concert when everyone had their hands in the air. Even though the song never mentioned God, it was a moment of divine connectedness. The crowed moved in unity. Raising our hands felt like a natural thing to do. I believe that is because we are all made to be worshippers. Whether or not we want to admit it, we all worship something or someone. This is true even for the guy who never shows an emotion and lives a fairly bland life. That night I had my hands up to God even though I was severely struggling in my faith journey at the time.

Rock concerts touch on that part of us that desires to be free. We love to lose ourselves in the moment. Some see this as an escape while others believe it is a release. It really all depends on your experience and life journey.

Raising hands has become a big part of musical worship for me. When I connect with God, sometimes I raise my hands as an act of surrender. Sometimes I do it to touch God. Other times I lift my hands just as a child does to a parent when he wants to be picked up and held. Raised hands can also be simply a physical posture that shows reverence to God.

A student recently asked Pastor Dave, my church’s youth pastor, why people raise hands during worship. The student said that it looked like this was the pinnacle of the experience for many of the people in the room. They had to work up to it. That comment made me stop and laugh. I don’t know if it is the peak of anything. And I certainly don’t have all the right moves down when it comes to worshipping God through music. But I do believe it is something we are instructed to do in the Bible. It is a physical expression of what is taking place on the inside. And that is the key to true worship – God cares about the heart and our inner response to His glory.

Something happens when we raise hands in worship to God. I believe it helps us overcome fear and worry about what the person next to us might think. It can take us to a place where we can be free . If you struggle to encounter God, maybe the next time you should put those hands up and see if your heart follows.

Psalm 134:2 – Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD.

Psalm 28:2 – Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.

Psalm 143:6 – I spread out my handsto you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.

1 Timothy 2:8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

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