Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!Psalm 14:1
I don’t watch every time the Seahawks play, but I recently enjoyed their last game down at CenturyLink Field. As I watched, and as they panned the camera across the stands, I was struck again at how fanatical people are for football.
Dressed accordingly in their blue and green, some of them with painted faces and holding up signs, these people are really dedicated. How much money did they have to pay to sit (stand) in those seats, some of them week after week?! One guy even sported a “1” tattoo on his right forearm and a “2” on his left forearm so that when he cupped his hands to shout it displayed a “12” to all those around him.
The investment, the intentionality, the enthusiasm, the dedication, it was all something to be amazed at. And really, it ought not surprise us.
We are creatures of praise — it is the spontaneous overflow of what we value. We were made to worship, to get excited about something bigger than ourselves!
C.S. Lewis writes in one of his reflections on the psalms;
The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game — praises of weather, wine, dishes, actors, motors horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars… Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent? The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what men do when they speak of what they care about.
And what we care about, we’re not bored with, we’re not passive about. That’s why so much of the songs in the book of Psalms are emotional. Praise is that way and in regards to the LORD, it is also intimately relational. In other words, the LORD isn’t merely interested in you collecting and depositing more information about Him, He wants to be the object of your desire, your longing, your love … and dare I say, this ought to at times show itself.
Now I recognize that not everyone wears their emotions on their sleeves. After all, some of us are more reserved than others…but when the psalmist in Psalm 47 writes “Clap and Shout” he is literally calling God’s people to … are you ready for this … CLAP and SHOUT!
Are we called to worship a holy God? Yes!
Does that include quiet reverence and awe? Yes! But oh, Presbyterians! You’ve lost your voice at a Seahawks game (or at home watching), or at your child’s soccer game …you’ve clapped with thousands at a concert of your favorite band, but why never at worship?!
There is an exuberant joy and expressiveness that we are invited to! An outward display that speaks our love to the LORD Himself, that reminds our own hearts, one another, and the world of our greatest Affection!
So I encourage you: don’t be ashamed, raise your arms if you want to! Clap your hands when your love for Him is bubbling over! Sing with the passion of a lover! Shout for joy to the LORD!