Lifted hands



I recently listened to a talk about the importance of physically lifting our hands in worship.
The thing that struck me about the talk is that when I researched the meaning of "lifted hands" in the various verses, I found that the premis of the talk fell with a low, dull thud.

The base of the talk was 1 Timothy 2:8-10

"Thefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing."
The talk broke the verse up into "the importance of lifting your hands in worship" and  then ignored the second half and dealt only with the first half - lifting holy hands in worship. So you can imagine, the talk focused on personal morality and raising our hands.



The problem is that the writers of the scriptures knew that one would lift their hands to do all sorts of things. Moses lifted his hands to bring Israel victories, David pleaded with God not to lift his hand in anger twoard him and his people, and plainly everyone lifts their hands to work and play. We can help or hurt people with our hands. And this to me is where the rubber seems to meet the road.

Lifting holy hands in worship without anger or disputes means to live at peace with your neighbors, so that when you lift your hands it is not to hurt but to bless - both your neighbor and The LORD.
There is a second sense that this phrase "lifting hands" is used: to lift  yourself up. This can be literally or figuratively.  It is the figurative sense that is important here. When we come to worship together,  we do so to give recognition and praise to Christ, not to ourselves.

Here is the connection: when we become prideful and selfish, we inevitably take our focus off of Jesus as the perfector and Centre of our faith. We are then are all but guaranteed to hurt others in our pursuit of our own self interests and gain, whether it be financial, power, political or relational. In this way, we will lift our hands in anger and disputes - because anger and disputes always erupt when our focus is on our own interests rather than on the interest of others and most importantly, of God.

As the sciptures also say, "In your anger sin not". If we are lifting our hands in anger and disputes, we are missing the mark on one of the core themes of the entire bible and of Jesus' message!
To paraphrase Jesus, Love God with all your heart, mind and strength, and love your neigbor as yourself - ALL the law and prophets hang on these two things.

So when we raise our hands let us do so with holy hands in worship without anger or disputing.
It is in this context that one 'should' raise their hands in worship.  However, if we mark our relationships with manipulation, agreesive or passive-aggressive actions, slander, arguing for the sake of arguing, etc then I submit we have a much bigger issue than whether or not we are putting our hands in the air at a worship service.

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