A Show of Hands

At an ACDA conference in Santa Barbara, one of the more engaging concerts was provided by a men's choir. Yet, when they started, the visual was a bit disconcerting. It was as if they were acting, not as a choir, but as a bunch of soloists. Each singer's hands seemed to have a life of their own, and they painted phrasing, or breathing, or the passion of the text they were singing. To be clear: every set of hands was doing something different...congruent with the singer, but out of sync as a choir.

At a certain point, though, it became clear that the singers' hands were an extension of their individual engagement with the music, but more specifically the text of what they were singing. Over time, those hands were not a distraction, but a form of communication.

Now I grew up in a "frozen chosen" Lutheran congregation. Demonstrations of passion in worship were just not done. Yet down the street from my house, on Sunday nights, a black Pentecostal church worshipped, and, man they were ALL about demonstrative praise. As Randall Bradley has drawn our attention to the desegregation imperatives in modern churches, I often think about how the hands of our congregations...both in the air or not, and clapping or not>...have become an issue for some. I don't have a definitive "word" for you, but I do encourage you to think about it...

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