Posture in Worship (Grace Notes Issue 2.28)


Cross Posted on Grace Notes

It’s always hard to write the final devotional of the year – there is so much to reflect upon and also so much to look forward to after the summer.

But instead of a sappy reflection or a “Go Get ‘em” pump-you-up speech before our break, I’m going to ask for you to consider something over the summer.  The something is what our bodies say about worship when we sing.

Have you ever noticed on Sundays that there are actually people in the congregation that don’t look excited to be at church?  Have you ever noticed there are people in the choir that don’t look excited to be at church?  What is that all about?  I’ve actually seen people SITTING IN THEIR SEATS or standing WITH THEIR ARMS FOLDED when we sing “When Christ shall come, with shout of acclimation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!”!

So over the next couple of months as you worship in the congregation (and not from on the platform), think about how your posture and body language either reinforce or contradict the words of the songs.  For example, if the words of a song say that you “bow”, why is it you are looking up?  Even if the words call us to “fall on my knees” or “bow down”, even doing something as bowing our heads toward the ground can communicate (to ourselves, to God, and to others) an attitude of submission, repentance, and/or respect.  Or if the song says, “We lift our voices, we lift our hands, we lift our lives up to you” why do our hands stay in our pockets (or crossed in front of us)?  And if you’re not into that whole “lifting the hands” thing, wouldn’t it be better to just not sing the words?

Here’s the point – if we are singing for an audience of One – God – then to say one thing with our lips and another with our bodies makes us to be hypocrites (at best) or liars (at worst).  If we can’t do something as simple as lift a hand (when our lips say we are going to do it) or bow a head (when our lips say we are going to do it), how can we expect God (or anyone for that matter) to believe us when our lips say we “surrender all to Jesus” or “lay it all down”?  It is in the little things that integrity and character are proven, and to him who is responsible with little much is given.  Sometimes people express that they don’t feel God is present when singing takes place.  Perhaps that’s because our lips and our actions don’t agree.  Perhaps it’s because what God sees is a bunch of hypocrites who don’t do what they say they will do.

And that just ain’t a good situation to be in.  Challenge and encourage each other to be making sure your verbal and non-verbal communication agree (what’s the statistic? 75% of all communication is non-verbal?  If that’s true, God gets quite a message from some people…)

The greatest joy I have on Sunday mornings when I lead worship is seeing people’s faces reflect the words they are singing as they communicate with God.  And I have to believe that God feels the same way.  And there are plenty here who do that – look for them next week, and see the difference in worship.

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