I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. For the first time in a long time, we celebrated Thanksgiving with just our immediate family. It was really nice to have extended time together and to share many good memories. I pray you were able to enjoy a peaceful and thankful time.
I love the tradition that Grace Church has on Thanksgiving Eve. Each year we gather to worship God and thank Him for His many blessings in our lives. This year our focus was on being thankful for our God who hears and answers prayer. I shared about how grateful I am that God has answered so many of our prayers over the last year.
As part of the service, I asked a lady in our church to sing a wonderful song called ‘Pray’ composed by Carol Cymbala and Freddy Washington for the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. As we discussed the song, she expressed her desire that the focus not be on her, but that people would focus on Christ as she sang. This is a concern that we often have in planning worship services. When we go to concerts, we show our appreciation for the person’s performance by applauding. But what do we do in church when we are blessed by a song that is sung, or when someone sings an amazing song as an act of worship? How do we encourage those who faithfully use their gifts in our worship services?
Let's think for a moment about clapping in church. I love this verse: “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!” (Psalm 47:1) Clapping can be an act of worship. I'm not against clapping in church. I am simply concerned that we should always remain focused on God in our worship services. I'm in favor of encouraging those who faithfully use their gifts to draw attention to God. I'm in favor of whatever we do for the glory of God.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor 10:31)
When we clap, let's clap to praise and glorify God. Let’s be careful to be reverent and God-focused in our worship. The goal of worship is not what we get out of it, but rather what we are bringing to God as an offering of praise and worship. Let our clapping be to the praise, glory, and worship of our King!