Can’t you just hear the angels clapping when we get something right down here on earth? Scripture gives us some insight into this business of clapping our hands and so we know that it is not merely a human trait.
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. Psalm 47:1
Let the rivers clap their hands, Let the mountains sing together for joy. Psalm 98:8
“For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12
Psalm 134:2. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD. (This doesn’t exactly exemplify clapping but I’m sure you get the picture.)
And then there’s that great children’s song from the fifties:
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it; If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!
A Catholic couple were guests in a protestant church once, and asked me what I thought of dancing in the church…this after watching a liturgical dance, of which they disapproved. I knew it was in scripture somewhere, and said so. (Let them praise his name with dancing…) Psalm149:3. (NIV) Where else do we praise his name if not in church?
All these years later it brings to mind other things which are sometimes frowned upon in a church…not all churches, but some. For instance some people raise their hands, or exclaim, “Praise the Lord!” when some hymns or anthems move them to emote their joy in the moment. (Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the lord) Psalm 134:2 (NIV)
Applause is another thing which is not welcome in some religious institutions. But you know what…sometimes we can’t help applauding a perfectly performed rendition of The Lord’s Prayer. Sure, we may be applauding the singer but the song or hymn is what stirs us to take such action, because that performer is elevating our level of worship. (Clap your hands, all you nations…) Psalm 47:1 (NIV)
In my book, and it’s the “Good Book”, if it’s good enough for God, it’s good enough for me. So, shall we lift up our hands, even clap our hands, bring on the liturgical dancers…enjoy praising the Lord…it`s what he tells us to do. (Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.) James 1:22 (NIV)
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Psalm 100:1 (KJV)
I attended another funeral yesterday. We lost thirteen members of our church in 2014, and so far two more this month. It has kept our Pastor pretty busy. He always does a wonderful service but this was one of his best ever.
The guest of honor had been a member of our church and choir for over fifty years, and had a special bond with our Pastor, having known his grandmother from a previous church congregation. Audrey’s pet peeve was that Duncan seldom wore his robe, preferring a clerical jacket and collar. I don’t think I have ever seen him in a robe.
Yesterday he mentioned the fact that he now knew that Audrey had always lamented that his sermons could have been better if he had only worn the robe. During his meditation, he stopped mid-sentence, peeled off his jacket and donned the clergy robe…in honor of Audrey.
It is the first time I have heard a round of applause at a funeral.