Question:

I love the Lord our God with all that I am. Daily I give my all to show Christ through my actions. Of course I am a sinner and I know that this is a daily growing experience, but what a journey it is! I am a married young female and understand, accept, and agree with many of the practices and biblical teachings (for they are from the Bible - The word of God that is written by man). Aside from all of this, I'm an emotional person in all aspects (possibly due to being a female or my close and loving family-upbringing). I may cry to show excitement or despair, hug all that need one, and comfort those who struggle no matter how long I've known them. The part I am struggling with thus far within my church is our praise and worship (Sundays, Wednesday, every time we meet). When I praise on Sundays, currently the most that is seen as "acceptable" is to close ones eyes to focus and praise God. Maybe it's my southern family roots, but I would love to clap and raise my hands to my God whom is indescribably wonderful. To me, there is a difference in singing a song and praising our God with a song. In my car I can give more praise and worship than on some Sunday mornings. And it’s nothing dramatic but a simple clap to a song or to raise a hand to God saying “You Are Holy”. When I am with my family and we are free to emotionally and physically praise Him who lives, it's so overwhelmingly awesome that you know and can sense His Presence in the room. Is it wrong or frowned upon within the church of Christ family to clap or raise hands? I've seen it other churches of Christ, yet we haven't made that step. There has been discussion but before I share my feelings I thought I'd ask a "third party" to see. I've seen reasons for both sides, but so it's difficult to see through it all.


Answer:

Perhaps the reason for the difficulty is that you are too emotionally involved in the subject.

Read through your note again and ask yourself, "By whose standard are you making your evaluation?" You contend that clapping and raising hands are more "overwhemling awesome" and "indescribably wonderful" than without. Now compare this to Paul's statement, "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10). Paul's statement is especially telling as it comes immediately after a strong warning against altering the gospel in any way.

There is nothing wrong with being an emotional person or displaying appropriate emotion. "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15).

Who defines worship, man or God? Who determines what constitutes acceptable worship? I hope that you would answer that it is obviously God who makes the determination. If we understand and accept this, then it doesn't matter what I want or you want in worship. The only thing that matters is what God wants in His worship. There is a very good article on this subject that I would like you to read, it is called "Who is Closer to God?"