Today I’m also posting over at SheLoves about standing or sitting and the Power of the Hand and the pressure to conform.
Here’s an excerpt:
One thing I love about my church in Djibouti is that if the pastor tells us to sit but the choir is still singing and people in the congregation feel like standing, they stand. If the pastor says to stand and someone in the congregation feels like sitting, they sit. One person might pray out loud during a time of silence. One might do the march-in-place dance and clap, out of rhythm, to a slow song. One person might remain still and quiet while another weeps and jumps. And the whole time a Malagasy baby gets passed from Congolese arms to French arms to Ugandan, British, Ethiopian, American arms.
I’m not used to that kind of freedom in church. Where I come from, there is something my husband and I call, “The Power of the Hand.” When the music leader lifts his hand high up into the air, palm forward, and lowers it slowly, solemnly, the congregation obediently sits and remains seated. When he energetically sweeps it upward, up we stand.
Sometimes I don’t want to stand. Sometimes I want to sit with my head between my knees, bent low by the weight of the long, weary week. Or I want to kneel and cry and feel my smallness before the holiness of God. Sometimes when other people are sitting and I’m overcome by gratitude, I want to stand and raise my hands and lift my face to the sky (ceiling) in thanks.