I was so blessed by this new release by Sounds Like Reign that I had to share it with you for Sunday Praise. I also have a prayer request for myself. Last week I had oral surgery which resulted in damage to my throat. Speaking is difficult and singing painful. I am seeing the surgeon to see what he recommends on Tuesday. Have a blessed Sunday all!
Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! Psalm 134:2
So I will bless you as long as I live. in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:4
Songs about lifting hands are some of my favorites to sing for my friends at the nursing home. These choruses not only lift our moods by singing God’s word, but they give us a personal physical way to be involved with the worship. After we had sung one of these today, I paused and asked the question, “Why do we lift up our hands?” It is amazing that even in the memory care unit where I was today just how engaged my friends can be.
When my dad was still alive one of his principle duties as the head usher was to quietly take attendance at church. But back in our grammar school days that task was not completed quite so subtly. I remember that when the teacher called my name, I eagerly flung my hand up in the air to say, “I’m here!” In that same way God is taking attendance of His people. When we come to worship, God is delighted when we lift our hands up straight and high and call out, “I’m here Jesus!”
Then we recalled another reason for lifting up our hands and that is for the police. When the squad car comes flying up to our house and the officers jump out with their guns drawn shouting, “Show us your hands!” we better quickly obey. They want to see evidence that we are surrendering to their authority. Of course God is not pulling up to our curb in His heavenly squad car, nonetheless, to come into His sanctuary with anything less than full surrender is to miss the greatest blessings that He has in store. “Lord I don’t understand everything that is going on in my life and I don’t like much of what I do, but I trust you. I am lifting up my hands in surrender. Whether you show me what is going on or not I am deciding to give you all my praise.
There are probably many other reasons we should lift up hands, but one that is most meaningful to me is from when our boys were small. After a long hard day at work, I would trudge up the stairs to our little apartment, hoping for a shower, supper and rest. But just before I opened the door, I could hear our kids shouting, “Daddy’s home!” Then as it swung wide, two little sets of hands reached up to me as they excitedly called, “Pick me up daddy! Pick me up!” When we come into God’s house, whether we are only two years old like our children or nearing ninety like my nursing home friends, we should never miss the chance to lift up our hands and shout “Pick me up Daddy!” At the cross God reached down to everyone who lifts up their hands. Then He lovingly stooped low to pick us up and hold us close to Him!
Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
who stand by night in the house of the Lord! Psalm 134:1
What can I say about today’s monthly outdoor worship at Sunshine Christian Retirement Village? It was cold (by Florida standards) and we were old! The breezy not quite 60 degree weather had us shivering between hymns – but God showed up! We sang, heard each other’s prayer requests and heard from the word. At the beginning of this New Year it seemed wholly appropriate to begin by singing A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Between chattering teeth, Luther’s classic hymn reminded us that opposition to the church is not unusual, in fact it has been standard operating procedure throughout the centuries.
Then we began the praise chorus from Psalm 134, “Come Bless the Lord.” In order to understand what the Psalmist wrote it is important to know that these servants were specifically chosen from the family of Asaph and their duty was both to guard and to give praise to the Lord in the temple both day and night. In this Psalm these musicians and guards had their duties at night, so maybe you could think of them as third shift worshipers!
Are you going through a dark third shift night in your life? Maybe during this time, God is giving you the opportunity to be one of his special servants who stand by night. Maybe your praise in the nighttime seasons gives God the opportunity to show others His grace and glory in a world that so desperately needs the light of the love of Jesus Christ. If you have not heard this little chorus I have posted a fun link to listen to. It is one of my favorites. God bless you and have a blessed Lord’s day as you stand both day and night in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth! Psalm 134: 2-3