Physical posture is something many of us practiced in middle school so as to give off the “right” image.
Here are some that I mastered:
The Wall Lean w/ a touch of Shoulder Shrug and Pocketed Hands – this communicates that the building will fall if I move, shrugged shoulders boost the size of my upper body, and hidden hands most inconspicuously keep me from accidentally picking my nose in front of a pretty girl
The Two-Handed Thinker – this is a sitting position as inspired by “the Thinker” with slight modification of elbows on knees and hands folded with chin resting on double thumbs giving off a sense of intense focus and potential ability to pounce if it, for some emergency, needed to happen.
Many of us spend much of our lives communicating our thoughts and attitudes through our posture. Sometimes, our posture actually dictates the way we desire ourselves to respond. If I get pulled over by a police officer because I ran a stop sign, my initial response is to give him “The Sitting Slouch with Elevated Foot.” But because I know this attitude is not appropriate, I do the “Sit up Straight w/ Hands on the Wheel” posture. My attitude changes, and my exchange with the officer ends up glorifying God much more than it would have.
Our posture before God is no different other than the fact that God knows our hearts. Sometimes for me, my posture is that much more important because God knows my heart, and my posture often guides my heart into the place it should be. Let’s look at one posture that pops up again and again in Scripture and some of the different contexts in which it occurs: the “Hand Raise.”
Nehemiah 8:6 – “And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”
Psalm 28:2 – “Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary”
Lamentations 2:19 – “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.”
Hebrews 12:11-12 – “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees…”
“Hands Raised” is a posture that can show our desire for the one who saves us much like my one year old daughter Selah raises her hands to me when she desires to escape the torment of her big brother Roman. It is also a posture of strength and comfort knowing that God is with us like when I arrive home and Selah’s first response is to raise her hands and say, “Daddy!”
When we gather to worship God (typically a small percentage of the week), I want to encourage us to take our posture seriously as it will often guide our hearts and minds (even basic yoga classes have figured this out). A friend told me this week that within the context of our relationship with Christ, we ought to be taking more risks. I agree, and I think our posture during our worship gatherings is a small, biblical risk that we can take which will draw our hearts closer to his.
I encourage you to spend some time asking God what he desires from your posture this week during both your personal and our corporate times of worship.