Let the body worship

Sometimes you just know it. On Sunday morning, I knew it.

     God was in the house.

worship-tweet

I know he’s always in his children. And wherever his children go, there goes God.

But our awareness of his presence can vary from day to day.

     On this day, we were made aware. And we were moved.

I grew up being still during singing with the church. The only motion we made was flipping through the hymnal. Maybe stand up and sit down as directed. That was it. And that was fine. Still is fine now.

But also fine is letting the body participate.

When the church body was singing this yesterday,

Something’s moving
Something’s changing
See His glory
Feels like heaven on earth

I looked over the audience and saw this:

  • faces smiling
  • bodies swaying
  • arms lifting

And when we moved to the next song,

Jesus awesome in power forever
Awesome and great is Your name
You overcame

I felt chill bumps.

     Because God was in the house.

His house.
In multiple bodies.
Including my own.

When God is in the house, how can a body contain him?

  • Our mouths spoke with Pastor Mark, thanking God in advance for the works he’s going to do. 
  • Our hands opened to receive the blessing of encouragement prayed over us.
  • And our hearts overflowed with gratitude for who God is and what he’s already done.

If God lives in the body, the body can’t help but move.
So go with it. Use it.
Let the body worship.

That’s what he made it to do.

* * *

In what ways do you use your body to worship?
(Does washing dishes count? Certainly! Just ask Brother Lawrence.)

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42 thoughts on “Let the body worship

  1. Dianna

    I love Brother Lawrence! I need to put Practicing on my reading list for next month…I’ve not read it yet this year. And I so agree, Lisa…let the body worship because that is what He made it to do! Hugs to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad we share that love for Brother Lawrence. I try to re-read his book every few years too. I’m always inspired by it.

      Thanks for your encouraging words in your last email too. I hope to respond this afternoon because I do have some questions for you. You’re awesome! I look forward to the day, here or there, where we can worship side by side.

  2. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! I’m your neighbor at Hear It On Sunday.

    Sounds like Sunday was a great day at church! It is such a blessing to have those days when you can just feel God’s presence. My body worships when I’m visiting you, because I’m learning about the love of God.

    Ceil
    PS Love Brother Lawrence too 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Ceil. Yes, Sunday was indeed a great day with the church. And when I got home, I had a text from my daughter wanting to tell me about the great day she had had with her church. Love when that happens!

  3. bluecottonmemory

    When we give our best to God is it worship? When we take the works of our hands and give it to Him? That is the only way my life truly has meaning – giving Him my sons, my husband, my family, my dreams – giving Him the heart of me:)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exactly. Giving him the work of our hands is our daily worship. It’s definitely offering a sacrifice of praise when we do our daily, routine tasks for his glory, ways we can show love to him through those he’s put in our lives.

  4. Beth

    It’s funny that you should write about this today, Lisa. Lately I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I feel like God is convicting me to raise my hands in praise during worship. Even though He’s prompted me to do it, I haven’t, which is kind of weird since I love to clap and I’m always tapping my foot and be-bopping to the beat. I’m definitely not standing still! But my old Baptist upbringing keeps me fearful of this more obvious sign of worship. But if King David could do it, “humiliate himself in worship” then I certainly should! It’s such a beautiful sign that you love the Lord. Who wouldn’t want to show that to Him and others? Thanks for the nudge, my friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t it funny how our upbringing from years ago continues to dominate our thinking so much? I definitely relate to what you’re saying. It took me a long time of raising hands only while singing in my car before I was comfortable doing it in front of other people.

      But I finally decided it was less important to care about what others thoughts and more important to express my worship in the ways I needed to. It’s been very freeing. Praying the same happens for you, regardless of what you choose to do. King David was a radical worshiper indeed, yes? I’m not yet comfortable enough to dance in the streets…. 🙂

  5. Janet

    Lisa.
    We must have grown up in the same church! Songs from the hymnal – before big screens and powerpoints. I remember feeling self-conscious about lifting my hands at a Christian concert my daughter and I attended several years ago — and feeling like she was just ‘copying’ the crowd by lifting hers. My daughter with Down Syndrome – lifting her hands and closing her eyes during the music. So I asked her. She looked at me like I was asking the obvious – “It’s God”, she said. She didn’t copy her answer from anyone – it was definitely God. Thank you for writing this!
    Janet

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, what a precious story, Janet. I can picture your daughter being so moved by God, with no inhibitions to hold her back. I wish we all were so open.

      And I love Christian concerts. It’s always encouraging to be thrown together with people from all kinds of churches, each worshiping in ways that are normal for them, but often new to others. We have so much we can learn from each other when we mix together.

  6. Nannette and the Sweetheart

    So beautiful Lisa! Oh I love to worship!! Our church is demonstrative is their worship, we do clap our hands to the music and raise our hands in praise as surrender and worship to the Lord. It is so freeing and seems so fitting to worship Him in spirit and in truth! David danced before the Lord! Should we do any less? I often wonder why the world thinks it is strange that Christians are “weird” when they are demonstrative in their worship but they can go to ball games and hoop and holler and jump, gyrate and act literally crazy over a ball team. Go figure. But we can’t stand and praise the One who gave His very life for ours? The One who is coming back to redeem us? Doesn’t He deserve our praise? When I get into His presence and sing songs like the two you mentioned I cannot just sit there! I must stand and lift my hands and worship! The tears stream down my face and I offer praise back to God who came in flesh and dwelt us, Jesus, the Savior of the World. We are so blessed to be able to gather together like that every Sunday. I don’t want to take it for granted so I give it everything I have. And He is so worthy! When the praises go up, the glory comes down! Blessings for this post…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What joy I get just from reading your words, Nannette. Thank you for sharing this. It’s been a new phenomena for me to be a part of church that is this demonstrative in worship, and I’m loving every second of it.

      It’s also my first time to be part of a choir from the front where I get to see all the worshipers at once. It almost brings me to tears every Sunday when I see people really into their worship of the Lord.

      Our worship pastor shared a funny picture yesterday that I’ll link to here. Sounds like you’ll relate too. 🙂 I did. It’s not necessarily pretty on the outside, but hopefully the Lord receives glory from the inside.

      http://buff.ly/12EebNy

  7. Mia

    Dear Lisa
    I often am humbled by the fact that we as Pappa’s children have the privilege of offering our bodies to Him to live His Worth-ship in and through us in spirit and truth! It wants to make me Sind and dance for joy!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think we often fail to see offering our bodies in worship as the “privilege” it is, Mia. Thanks for pointing that out. May we stay awakened to the blessing that the Lord accepts our worship in all the many forms when we choose to give it, and may we choose to give it more and more often and fully.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      When we operate as he designed us to, we usually feel it, don’t we. I love those moments when I know I’m in the sweet spot of the Divine design. May he continue to bless you well!

  8. hazel Moon

    Oh I loved your post and was right there with you raising my hands and swaying too. God loves our bodies to move and dance to praise him. I don’t do much dancing these days, but I can sway and give him thanksgiving.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I don’t do a lot of dancing either (at least not in public, ha), but as long as we can move around, I pray that we do use our bodies in worship. Thanks, Hazel.

  9. floyd

    I drum with my fingers… There are times for all actions, quiet seeking, face planted in the dirt in humility before our Father, and moving and swaying as we seek Him in music… in which He created. The world has taken all good things created by God for mankind and perverted it… We need to take back what was ours to begin with… with the proper perspective and in love. I appreciate the heart and passion, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, there are so many postures–active and still–that are appropriate at different times as ways to express our worship. Unfortunately we can also use postures to worship the wrong things too. I hear you, Floyd; we do need to redeem our movements for HIS glory, not for our own idols.

  10. Nancy Sturm

    David danced for joy before the Lord. I’m not that uninhibited in church, but I love to allow my body to relax, move to the music and just enjoy the worship time. Guess I’ll just have to do the dancing at home alone. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      People around me should be glad I’m not that uninhibited in public either, Nancy. 🙂 I’m sure I get enough looks at traffic lights and stop signs when people glance over and see me singing my heart out there. We’re old enough–oops, I mean *mature* enough–not to care anymore, right? ha

  11. Holly Barrett

    I felt the same way during worship yesterday! So good to be in a place where I’m free to worship as the Spirit moves. So happy to be worshipping with others who do the same. It’s awesome to feel God’s presence so strongly and is a great way to begin the week!

  12. [email protected]

    Hi Lisa,
    I love Brother Lawrence, and I love to move as the music and the Spirit moves me…like you, I don’t think I did much when I was younger, but now I do sway a little and sometimes I lift my hands a little…it is such a powerful experience to feel God’s presence with others…blessings to you 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you like Brother Lawrence too. He’s such a good reminder to all of us to remember Who is with us as we go about our routine tasks. I long to retain that awareness more and more into my days. Blessings to you too, Dolly.

  13. Laura Boggess

    Sounds like a beautiful day of worship, Lisa! I love when the Spirit makes His presence known this way. We Presbyterians are generally a conservative bunch but its really cool when it feels natural to make worship a full body thing. I love that.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it is always special when the Spirit is so obvious. And thankfully that can happen in a variety of ways! We’re blessed that he doesn’t confine himself to one particular venue or style. That way we can all experience him in our own ways, regardless of and through our individual traditions.

  14. Mel Caldicott

    Lisa, I love this and you have described such a wonderful experience of worship here.

    We have been through a period where we worshipped at a church where the worship was very restrained and this was one of the reasons we have, after many months of prayer and agonising, moved to another church.

    Two things – I am constantly awed by the gift of music that God has given us and the way it can express things, produce emotions and move us like nothing else. Also, I wonder if laughter can be a form of worship sometimes? What do you think?

    Thanks for a great post. Linked here from the Soli Deo Glory Party at Finding Heaven Today.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I understand that agonizing choice. We made a similar one last year, and although the worship style wasn’t necessarily a primary factor in our decision, we most definitely have thoroughly enjoyed that change. Incredibly so.

      I am with you about music: there is something unique in its ability to touch places in us that other things can’t always reach. It is definitely a gift from God.

      And laughter? Oh yes. Overflowing with joy can definitely be a form of worship as well. Thanks for mentioning that, Mel.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exactly, Mary. I’m glad we’re still able to grow as we get older. And that includes growing in the depth of our worship as well as how we worship. I wonder what’s next?

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  17. Caleb Suko

    I always liked the story about how David danced when the ark was returned to Jerusalem. There are a lot of Biblical passages that talk about using the body in worship. Many churches here prohibit clapping in their services which I find a little sad. On the other hand they also kneel to pray, which I think is a very appropriate physical act of worship.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Caleb. I agree–kneeling to pray is such a beautiful act of submission and humility and of worship. When I was younger, the preacher at my local church would always kneel when he would pray. He was a very tall man, so it made a deep impression on me. It’s a practice I should do more often myself, even if only in my bedroom.

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