Wednesday, October 5, 2011


There’s nothing that beats watching babies or toddlers at play. Their joy is unrestrained and exuberant. Perhaps we should follow their example more often and not try so hard to restrain ourselves when we’re happy. Childlike joy is catching; let’s give ours away.


Freedom in Worship

Remember when you were a kid, running through the grass, hands lifted high in sheer exuberance? Remember clapping and bouncing up and down when your mom said she’d take you to the beach? Dancing in anticipation in front of the ice cream counter?

Ah, the joys of youth! Unfortunately, our expressions of joy fade with time. I heard someone say that second graders express boldness in their artwork, but by fourth grade, their art becomes stilted and stuffy and “within the lines.”

While maturing into adulthood, many of our visible signs of happiness and joy fade into mere smiles. We laugh, but only at the appropriate time and place. We clap, but only at a concert. We giggle and jump through rain-filled puddles only in our minds.

Why don’t we act like children any more? I don’t mean in a childish manner, but in a child-like manner. I believe we Americans, compared to many foreign countrymen, have lost our outward zest for life. For years I sat in a mainline church, so filled with the sense of God’s wonder that I nearly choked with emotion. But because everyone else sat, unmoving, in their pews, I did too. Many years later, I witnessed exuberant praise and worship from fellow believers. Spiritually thirsty desert-dweller that I was, I started clapping and moving my feet to the worship music’s rhythm and raising my hands along with others. No longer did I feel constrained, corked under the pressure of erupting.

King David was childlike in his worship of God. “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.” (Psalm 63:3-4)

Other psalms speak of David telling us to sing to the Lord, make a joyful shout to Him—like children. Like the crowds did when Jesus passed through Jerusalem and they hailed Him as King with their palm branches. They shouted and sang and danced and lifted their hands in joyful praise.

It’s unfortunate when we allow society’s “rules” and the sedate, inhibiting influences of our upbringing to keep our hands to our sides and our feet still. The most disturbing thing is that such rules don’t seem to apply when it comes to rooting for our favorite football team or our son’s Little League ballgame. Perhaps such a fact tells us that our society as a whole has decided to express freedom in worshiping our favorite team but not in worshiping God, our Creator, Savior, and Helper.

Lord, help us to be a blessing to You through our childlike worship. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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