Raise Your Hands  

Posted by Matt

I'm intemperate!

Right...I'm a jellyfish, honestly. I think being faceless maybe helps me speak up and say some things here I might not say aloud in front of people--my friends and family are thinking, "Yeah, right...like there are things you wouldn't say in front of people."

Well...critical things. I'll say weird things, silly things, and often, wrong things in front of people. But I try not to be critical.

So, my first target is nobody and everybody, including myself.

Dude...what is up with hand-raisers in church? They just shoot that fist in the air, tilt the head back, close the eyes, and rock out. They seem so peculiar to me...and I'm jealous of them for it.

I've raised my hands spontaneously in worship once, at Passion On the Hill in 2002, the first time I ever saw (or heard of) David Crowder.

I guess I'm just uptight...and it's annoying me. Don't get me wrong, you can worship just fine without clapping, snapping, stomping, dancing, or putting your hand in the air. But dammit if it doesn't look like I'm missing out on something.

See, the music and worship staff at Avalon Church pretty much melts face. Considering how little time they spend rehearsing compared to other praise bands, and your collective jaws will drop. Andrew Pray is really energetic and talented and Dusty has a voice that could land him the front man spot in just about any ass-kicking band out there. The dude can wail.


Beyond that, I really believe that the worship portion of church is integral to a Christian's development. It's a time to reflect, pray, participate, and get your emotions in tune with loving and being passionate with Jesus. Not too long ago, I would have sneered at the "emotional manipulation churches execute by playing flashy music." That moron had forgotten to read the part in the Bible where God commands us not just to love Him with all of mind, but also with our heart and soul.

So, I really wish I could forget about the people around me for long enough to allow myself to raise my hand and close my eyes and just let the song raise my hairs.

But, see...part of what keeps me from doing it most of the time is...well...my secret...my secret holds me back.

Do you want me to tell you my secret? I think I may be ready to share it...

...I see dead people...

The peeps at Avalon rule SO much. But when I look around in worship services, get pumped by the sick-wicked tunes, feel adrenaline and happiness start to work the muscles in my jaw...and see sooooo many people staring and, at most, clapping mechanically...I want to shout WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!

I just want people to be able to (or let themselves) access the awe God wants us to have in Him. Being caught up in awe will look different for everybody, but I know it sure as heck looks different than a comatose person staring blandly at the mega-projector-screens.

I'm okay if you don't raise your hands, if you don't clap, if you don't dance...but...but...c'mon! The music! The screens! The lights! JESUS! The Man...The Son of Man...is cutting a rug in those celestial, rugged jeans of His right there in our midst. The Holy Spirit is pounding His metaphysical fist to the beat. God Himself, wrapped in His terrifying, holy, and endless glory is headbanging that flowing silvery mane of God-hair of His....and we stand there like zombies.

Dude...worship service is practice for what we're going to be doing nonstop for eternity. We have so much going great for us at Avalon. I'm going to try and do what I can to practice my Eternal Roll (worship) better. That will likely mean I start raising my hand (whoa...crazy, I know) and singing louder (sorry in advance to those who can hear me).

Dudes, I want to light the place up with our awe. What do you think would happen if we came to church with awe in our hearts? Real OH MY GOD awe?

So...if anyone reads this before Sunday. Keep an eye out. I'm putting my hand in the air. Like I just don't care.


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I'm just a suburban guy. I wish I were hardcore, I wish I were tougher, I wish I listened to cooler music, I wish I weren't a lush, I wish I had big muscles, cooler hair, and some rad tattoos, I wish I were smarter, cooler, and sexier, I wish I knew how to play guitar. Instead, I'm just a band geek, power-nerd wannabe, WoW gamer, 30 year-old dad and husband. I play french horn, I read the Vampire Chronicles as well as the Chronic-WHAT?!-les of Narnia, I like movies, but not all the snobby-artsy ones I'm "supposed" to see, and a good meal to me is Miller Lite with chicken patties topped in barbecue sauce. ...oh...and I have a big mouth.


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