Christianity 201

February 21, 2011

Worship With Both Hands

We worship God with one hand UP and one hand OUT; worship is about God and my neighbor — about loving Jesus and loving others.You can’t have one without the other

That’s inspired by Mark 12:28-31, where Jesus is asked which commandment is the greatest. He responds by saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  I find the church gets the first part right. That’s the up part. We know how to raise our hands up in worship. The problem is that if both our hands are up saying, “God, I Love You,” then we don’t have a hand free to put out to our neighbor. Worship has to be balanced — one hand raised to God and one hand stretched out to our neighbors, serving and loving them in the name of Jesus.

I believe I worship God by being hospitable to my neighbor. For example, by throwing a street party not to preach, but to simply celebrate the community I share with them. I worship God when I open the door for someone else, when I look someone in the eye and listen to what they’re saying, and when I feed the poor and give money to someone who needs it more than I do…

Jonathan Manafo
Associate Pastor, Christian Life Centre
Ajax, Ontario, Canada
as quoted in Testimony Magazine.

That reminded me of this song by Love Song from the early days of the Jesus Movement. The group reunited in 2009 to perform the song once again:

And while reminiscing about classic contemporary Christian music, I couldn’t help but think of Chris Christian’s recording of Mountain Top. That song isn’t online, but Amy Grant covered it. The song reminds us that worship is far more than what we do on Sundays.

Are there songs today that express this two-pronged aspect of what true worship is? We’ve become far more active in the lives of the poor; in addressing social justice issues; but do we do it with a spirit of worship, a sense that what we do “to the least of these” we are doing onto God? That true worship involves service to widows and orphans?

I just wonder if we’re getting more familiar and more efficient with doing something, but we’ve lost the sense that in so doing, we are giving worship to God. That would be unfortunate.

Francis Chan says,

We need to stop giving people excuses not to believe in God. You’ve probably heard the expression, “I believe in God, just not organized religion.” I don’t think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live. The expression would change to, “I can’t deny what the church does, but I don’t believe in their God.” At least then, they’d address their rejection of God rather than use the church as a scapegoat.

Crazy Love pp 21-22

1 Comment »

  1. […] Here’s a C201 post dealing with the subject of balanced worship that also contains a couple of classic CCM songs. Check out Worship with Both Hands. […]

    Pingback by Wednesday Link List « Thinking Out Loud — February 23, 2011 @ 5:22 am | Reply

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