Tuesday, June 08, 2004

"Holy Hands"

1 Timothy 2:8 - "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing."

Lamentations 3:41 - "Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven."

When I first saw someone with my own eyes lift up their hands during a worship service (I don't remember where it was) I will admit, it sort of "freaked me out". I didn't understand it, I had never seen someone at a Church of Christ do that! "They only do that on T.V.!", I thought.

Other things went through my mind. Generally, I thought that they were just "showing off" to call attention to themselves like, "...look at me, I'm REALLY into this, why aren't you?..." Another thought was, "...I'm going to shove this in your face, and make you feel uncomfortable because I think that we all need to do this...". The really paranoid part of me said, "...Ok, what's next? Are they going to start 'speaking in tongues'?"

Over the last few years I have come to grips with the fact that these were irrational thoughts. I can no more tell what another person is thinking than I can tell you the next time the Detroit Tigers will win the World Series! Also, after considering this practice, recalling my past studying of the Bible and doing some more studying I think I can honestly say that there is nothing scripturally wrong with it. The opposite may be the case, there may be biblical precedent for practicing it.

So the obvious question is, why DON'T we "raise holy hands"? Another question to be answered is why does it make us so uncomfortable? Still another is why is it being so strongly opposed by the "main stream Churches of Christ"?

I can only respond from my personal experience at this point, but I intend on discussing this with my friends, peers and Church leaders as I get opportunity. I believe it has to do with the dreaded word which I will probably bring up time and again...IDENTITY. We identify that kind of act as something that "those people" do, you know people like the "faith healers" on T.V., the T.V. evangelists, the Pentecostals... "They are just out of control", is what we might say. People are just afraid of starting down that "slipery slope" and never being able to get back up. From my view, (from the cheap seats) I believe that is where we must have STRONG, FORWARD-THINKING, PRAYERFUL, and BOLD LEADERS. It is the job of our elders to guide us down the right path prayerfully considering what is best and pleasing to our God.

Personally, in the past, I have felt funny about it. I think it often looks rehearsed or fake. However, there are moments when it's done at the right time and in small doses that it seems appropriate. MY spriritual life is going through a change, a re-birth, if you will, that has brought about many emotions that I have not felt for a long time or have never felt before. Although, I have never "raised holy hands", as of late, it has crossed my mind. I think this is a good thing, I think it means I MAY be on the right track.

I'm still not conviced that I will do it (and I readily admit that a prominent reason has to do with COURAGE), but don't be flabbergasted if at some very special point in an especially good act of worship you see my hands...slowly...carefully...go...up.

2 Corinthians 3:7-12

"Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, Will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold."

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"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18