Move Your Body

A song often used as (part of) a call to worship of sorts begins:

We stand and lift up our hands,
For the joy of the Lord is our strength;
We bow down and worship Him now:
How great, how awesome is He!

Now, is it Chris Tomlin’s fault or ours that no one actually does those physical actions when they’re being described/prescribed? Oh, right, I forgot: only the heart matters, because it’s legalistic to direct corporate physical actions in worship. Or worse, the images used are just there to look pretty and nothing else.

We seem to have no objection to singing the same words together, so why not saying the same words and doing the same physical actions? Honestly, all of this wouldn’t be more foreign to an unbeliever than it would be to a white Cal student going to a KTV place near Berkeley; at the same time, you can’t possibly make worship of the true God any less foreign.

And if your thought is that the way of the world is to concentrate on what happens outside, let me remind you that it’s really not countercultural at all to think that life’s all about what’s inside. In fact, our modern society seems to be obsessed with privacy and personal choice and with all the privation that comes with it, so much so that good intentions are wrongly supposed to excuse people’s actions.

If we’re committed to worship being more than just an emotional experience, if we’re committed to worship being dictated by God and not by man’s desires (because the physical imagery in Tomlin’s song is probably biblical, though I don’t think the music really matches the lyrics as a whole), maybe we’ll think carefully about the physical actions we indicate in those implicit or explicit rubrics for worship.


One response to “Move Your Body

  1. David danced half-naked in front of the whole assembly; his wife, Michal, was a legalist who denounced her husband for worshiping God with abandon. After the Jewish people crossed the Red Sea, Miriam picked up timbrels and led everyone in a dance of praise and thanks. The Charismatic movement gained many congregants because of its freedom of worship, i.e. raising hands, jumping, shouting, dancing. I believe God wants us to worship Him with our total being. “The trees of the field will clap their hands,” and Yeshua said that even “the rocks would cry out”!


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