Sometimes it hurts to lift my hands. Not necessarily from great pain or grief, although certainly there have been times when that was true. Often they are simply tired or heavy. Today my arms are physically aching, but I chose to lift them anyway.
Pondering the nature of worship, I reflected that so often we are tempted to express ourselves in these outstretched, visible ways only when we have already received: when we are feeling. Our praise becomes our response to that feeling.
But today I lifted my hands not because I felt like it, or even because I wanted to feel like it, but because I wanted to show my determination to worship despite my physical and mental tiredness. I chose to use my arms to praise. I chose to lift my hands.
I wanted to express a dedication within my limitations, or perhaps beyond them – to say – this is what I ascribe to, this is the person to whom I ascribe greatness, the one who does not change in spite of my vulnerability, my changing emotions, my body – which does not recover as well as I would often wish it.
Does this make my worship less heartfelt? I do not believe so. I do not lift my hands because I think I should, or because I want other people to notice. I do not lift my hands to make myself look spiritual or as a reflex reaction. I do not lift my hands as if it were a mere accompaniment to worship. I lift my hands because I recognise the worth of the one who I follow and worship. I want to say ‘yes, you are worthy of my praise’, even when my legs are wobbly and my shoulders knotty.
Sometimes it hurts to lift my hands, but I choose to anyway.