I came across this video the other day and loved every minute of it.
Andre Crouch was one of the first musicians I would have called my “favorite.” In fact, when I was in middle school, I played “My Tribute” on my trumpet in a talent competition called “Teens Involved.” It was one of those fundamentalist things. I actually made it to the national competition which was held in upstate New York.
Beyond that memory, I loved this video because it transported me back to the 80’s. It was fun to see many of the Christian Music stars who sang the only songs I was allowed to listen to (we didn’t do secular music back then). This felt a little like the evangelical version of “We Are The World.” The outfits and hairstyles made me feel young again, and honestly, I’d wear that stuff again.
Choirs are a sink or swim proposition. Either they are very good or they are very bad. For a few years in the mid-90’s, I was a choir director. I was the only associate in a smaller rural church. The church owned choir robes so it made sense that we should have a choir. Since I had played the trumpet in high school, I was chosen to lead the choir. I’m sure my inability and inexperience were frustrating to the 15-20 church members who made up our choir, but those people sang with all their hearts. Unfortunately, their talent didn’t make up for my lack thereof. Our choir was not good.
But the choir in this video? They are very good! I couldn’t help but think this was a little slice of heaven as people of every tribe and every nation gathered to sing the praise of the lamb. Like the creation in Genesis 1 and the New Creation in Revelation 21, it’s very good.
Then I had one more observation. And this is the real reason I’m writing this… NO ONE IS RAISING THEIR HANDS IN WORSHIP!
These days, the true worshippers worship God in spirit and in tomahawk chop (I jest). We have a tendency to evaluate the depth of people’s worship based on how high and how many hands they are raising. Like the Pharisees before us, we are judging the internal (a man’s heart) by the external (what we can see). I wonder if God would say the same thing to us as He did to Samuel, “Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.”
Just four decades ago, the greatest “worship choir” in the world was assembled and they sang a glorious rendition of “To God Be The Glory.” No one would have looked at them and said, “They aren’t raising their hands, they must not love worship.” If the hands up standard didn’t apply then, maybe it shouldn’t apply now.Somehow, in my lifetime, the standard operating procedure at every 80’s rock concert has become the standard operating procedure during most church worship services.
I’m not down on raising your hands during worship. If you want to do that, cool. It’s okay to worship with your hands held high. It’s okay to worship with your hands down, crossed, in your pockets, etc. It’s okay to worship with your eyes open or closed. It’s okay to worship by singing or by listening. It’s okay to worship while standing or sitting.
It’s not okay to judge your fellow worshipper because they don’t worship like you.