Friday, August 7, 2009

Adventure in Worship

This past week in my Monday Morning Musings I described the worship experience I had with a group of young people at camp a couple of weeks ago. I entitled that article, "Throwing Caution to the Wind" (if you do not get my MMMs, let me know and I will send this week's to you). As I thought I might, I received many responses from the article, perhaps with an equal number of pro and con. I have had some interesting discussions via email with several readers, especially over the issue of clapping. The more I looked at the verses in the Old Testament that mention clapping in association with worship (Ps 47.1; 98.8; Isa 55.12), the more convinced I became that clapping is both an appropriate and natural expression of our joy. While these are only three verses, they make a strong statement, showing that clapping is parallel with "shouting" and "singing" in joyful praise. Some may argue that two of these are metaphorical, referring to the trees and rivers. But the same is true of the singing and shouting for joy. The metaphorical nature of these passages does not negate the reality behind the metaphor, i.e., that shouting, singing, and clapping are common ways in which God's people expressed praise. Perhaps the prophets were calling on the rocks, rivers, and trees to do it because God's people failed to.

We sing a song at camp entitled "Aint No Rock" and it goes like this (minus the chorus): "Ain’t no rock (ain’t no rock) gonna cry in my place. I cry out to glorify His holy name....Ain’t no bird (ain’t no bird) gonna sing in my place. I lift my voice to glorify His holy name....Ain’t no tree (ain’t no tree) gonna lift its branches. I lift my hands to glorify His holy name." We ought to add to these: "Ain't no river (ain't no river) gonna clap in my place. I clap my hands to glorify His holy name."

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