“Did ‘Mimi’ teach you to do that?” my son wondered aloud as he watched his twenty-month-old daughter raise her hands as she sang along with Steve Green’s Hosanna, a song from his album Hide ‘em In Your Heart.  After realizing how much my granddaughter loved the song, I’d given her the cassette tape my son, himself, had listened to as a child.  I remember the first time I played the tape for her and how amazed I was when she raised her hands upon first hearing that song.  Y’see, although we’ve had a diversity of worship experiences, for more than a decade we’ve worshiped in Baptist churches, and Baptists generally do not raise their hands.  Why?  Baptists are taught that raising ones hands can lend itself to being showy, distracting, and prideful.  So when I saw Gracie so freely and spontaneously raise her hands to Hosanna, I must admit, I was both surprised and tickled.

Does the Bible mention anything about raising our hands?  Yes, it does.  Psalm 134:2, for example, says, “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.”  Can raising ones hands be showy, distracting, and prideful?  Yes, but should we discourage it because it can be abused, or should we teach the whole truth and allow people the freedom to worship God in spirit and in truth?  Didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 18:3 & 4, “Verily I say unto you, ‘Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven’”?  Perhaps we should be more like Gracie, lift up our hands and sing, “Hosanna!”

About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

21 responses to “Hosanna!

  • George

    Hello Sweet Rains,
    Wow!!! To me, Gracie is exactly who our Lord was referring to when he said: “Of such is the kingdom of Heaven”…. She is so innocent and beautiful!

    I believe that raising one’s hands in worship is wonderful… if it is not for show, but for worship…but I have always wondered about that. I’m not a very trusting person, I guess. People are so prone to be pharasees that I simply don’t trust them.
    I’m not sure that Baptists are actually taught anything about that, and I don’t really think that teaching is what it’s about. But, I’m not a Baptist myself, ( feel free to ask our pastor) so that is why I’m not sure. I really think it’s more a matter of privacy and an effort to NOT be showy on the part of conservative Baptists. Although I don’t agree with some Baptist doctrine, I aso don’t raise my hands. It’s just a humbleness issue for me. Who knows where we get our feelings on things like that.
    In any case, thank you for the beautiful post.
    I love you, and you already know that. smile

    • Sweet Rains

      Thank you, G. I think some people don’t raise their hands simply because they’re a bit more reserved, too, especially up here in the north. Although, isn’t it funny how people will raise their hands during a sporting event regardless of their reservations. I myself don’t lift up my hands in Baptist-like settings so as not to offend or distract, but I do at home, out in the woods, or in more expressive worship settings. Sometimes I even take an order from the fax machine, and as I walk it down to the shop, I lift it up in gratitude… kind of like a wave offering. If you haven’t done it, even in private, you oughta try it sometime. I think of myself as a daughter or handmaid stretching out my hands to my Father and Master. 🙂

  • David Gunter

    Love the Photo!

    I must admit that I do not often raise my hands in the sanctuary during the musical part of our worship service even when I’m not holding a guitar!
    It’s strange because at a worship event like a Christian concert I have no problem raising them… I do not want to be “distracting” to others but at time I feel like I am cheating myself of the closeness I could have with the Christ Jesus.

    • Sweet Rains

      Thank you, David! As I said in my response to George, I don’t raise my hands in a Baptist-like setting so as not to be distracting either. So, I’m not encouraging people to disrupt or try to change their church. I’m just trying to encourage people to consider the Scriptures and be careful not to hinder others from worshiping freely.

  • Scott

    Isn’t our Lord so neat that He looks at our hearts instead of our outward ‘stuff’? Some folks would be as out of place lifting and waving their hands in praise as a snowball in a coalbin – while others feel the liberty to do so whole-heartedly and our Lord accepts ALL their prise (arms waving or not). As for me – well, I am not much of an arm-raiser or waver, but I know the Lord knows my heart and sees the expressions there….

    Great blog by the way and your granddaughter is a real cutie!

  • Cassandra Badeau

    I would have to say I would feel so uncomfortable at our church lifting our hand. I have been to a few other churches who do and I can see how it could be showy. Is it more of a Vt thing? I have even been to a church to and witnessed a woman dancing (kind of like ballet) while worshiping. I thought it was beautiful. I think we are insecure in many ways and that can keep us from singing our praises and worshiping the Lord. Even if we say Amen too loudly, people turn and stare. I love it when we have people from down south come up and get us all excited and you can really see that they are excited about God’s message! I think that is an adorable picture and it reminds me of how the bible says that we should be more like children with our trust and coming to the Lord. Such a blessing!

    • Sweet Rains

      Thank you, Cassandra! I think part of it is a VT/Northern thing, but part of it is simply a Baptist thing, too. I’ve seen women dance while worshiping in other churches as well; one was a dance teacher. Baptists don’t dance. That’s a general statement, of course, but I was taught in a Baptist church that dancing can cause people to sin through lusting. Unfortunately, they lump all dancing into it and can place an unnecessary burden on people by causing them to think that dancing itself is sinful. So, as with raising hands, shouldn’t preachers/teachers teach what the Bible says about dancing rather than vilifying it because it can be abused? And let me just add that our pastor does not preach about these things in a negative light, and in fact, our Sunday school teacher, even though he knew it might offend one or two, once boldly and graciously encouraged us all to consider the practice of raising our hands in worship. He wasn’t encouraging rebellion or trying to change our church’s ‘culture’; he was simply teaching what the Bible says. 🙂

  • Rene Yoshi

    Reblogged this on Sweet Rains and commented:

    Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! In light of Palm Sunday, I thought I would reblog a post from two years ago that although not originally posted for either Palm Sunday or Resurrection Day, fits the occasion.

  • therealsummer2013

    Thanks Rene for that sweet reminder. I was raised in churches where hands were raised in praise to God, not in a showy way, and I miss that! I often feel uncomfortable at our current church worshipping God in that way, but your words (and Scripture!) are clear. Kids often have it right, don’t they?

  • Heidi Viars

    I do raise my hands … in my kitchen, in my car, and in church. I am grateful God sees when no one else sees and sees what no one else sees, namely the depth of my heart. He sees why we do it.
    I love what my son said to me the other day, that when he raises his hands it feels like when He was a little boy and raised his arms out to his dad … I like that picture 🙂 … thank you so much for this wonderful post, Rene

  • Jennifer

    I love this! Just one example why we can look to a “little child” to see the Kingdom. 😀 Love, love, LOVE!

  • Nancy

    Beautiful post and picture of your daughter. Oh that we were all so innocent to what others think and in rapt awe of Jesus.

  • Randell

    I had read this years ago and loved it. Since you put it back up I feel I can respond to it. Very well put and great story of Gracie. In ancient times Jewish men did raise their hands during both prayer and worship. I say be led of the Spirit and not by the crowd or to be seen of men, but if led, raise your hands and cry Hosanna. 🙂 Nice one Rene

  • Bill Sweeney

    Great post, Mimi.
    I would definitely raise my hands if able!

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