Why I think all songs in church should have hand motions

We just finished a week of VBS at our church. Yes, I’m exhausted. Yes, the kids aren’t back on a normal sleep schedule. Yes, I’m still singing the songs. (“It’s gonna be a cool, cool summer ….”) Yes, it’s worth it.

The kids performed one of the songs in church yesterday, complete with hand motions and dancing. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite parts of VBS: the music and the motions.

It’s so much fun to see adults and kids dancing and doing hand motions along with the songs all week at VBS. There’s a freedom I feel in praising God through song during VBS, and with kids in general, that I don’t always feel when everyone gathers on Sundays. Sundays, it seems to me, are serious and I’m to be serious about worship. I refrain from (or at least tone down) the joy I feel from the music. Dancing in my kitchen to uplifting songs — I don’t think twice about it. Dancing in church to uplifting songs — I’m afraid I would horrify someone.

I recently re-read the story of David dancing before the Lord. After being confronted about his behavior by his wife, he says this:

“It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.”

When I read this passage, I always think of this song.

David had great joy before the Lord. He had reason to celebrate. And he didn’t care what it looked like to anyone else. Beth Moore says of this passage in her book A Heart Like His: “Completely abandoned worship is often misunderstood.” Oh, how I fear being misunderstood. Sometimes I just want to dance because God has been so good!

It’s so easy … well, easier, anyway … when kids’ songs or camp songs are involved. Everyone thinks it’s cute or sweet and people often join in.

Maybe we need hand motions for EVERY worship song.

I even found one to get us started with the previous song I mentioned.

I know this is mostly a personal and insecurity issue. I’m not sure how to overcome it except to let God continue to change me and draw me out of the “what will people think?” shell.

Anyone else have this problem? How “undignified” are you willing to be in church? How do you praise God with complete abandonment? And how do you react to those who misunderstand your actions?

Just for fun, I’ve gotta end with this. When in doubt, laugh it out.


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