“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’”? As our pastor would say, it’s all about the heart. Perhaps we should be more like Gracie, lift up our hands and sing, “Hosanna!”