Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hallelujah!


After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, (Revelation 19:1 NIV)
I recently gave the children’s message in church and it did not go the way I had planned.
I was trying to teach the youngsters about praising God, so I asked them to say “Hallelujah.”
Their response was less than enthusiastic.
So, I demonstrated.
“Hallelujah!” I said, as I raised my hands.
They kind of muttered the word. None of them raised their hands.
“HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!” I nearly shouted.
Some of them managed to say it in a normal tone of voice, but none of them with enthusiasm and none of them raised their hands any higher than their waist.
Then, I asked them how that word made them feel.
“Weird,” said one little girl.
The congregation chuckled.
I vainly tried to explain that “Hallelujah” meant “Praise the Lord” and that praising the Lord is a very, very good thing which they should remember throughout their lives.
They did that thing kids do where they shift their weight from one foot to the other when they want to make it incredibly obvious that they are totally bored and you have lost all of their attention.
So I gave them treats.
As I was sitting on the lake today for many hours not catching fish, it occurred to me that I still feel “weird” when I raise my hands to praise the Lord in church.
Oh, I can pray and praise the Lord and have no problem at all raising my hands in surrender and praise—when there are no other people around.
It’s a people thing. I’m self-conscious and it bothers me. I’m not ashamed of Jesus, so why does this silly feeling persist?
I mean, it’s not like another member of the congregation is going to come up to me and say, “You know, you really look stupid when you do that.” I know that’s not going to happen. Some of them raise their hands, too.
Maybe it’s because I was raised in a church where we never did that. Church was a solemn occasion. We just did not do that. Ever.
Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever attended a church service where people raised their hands in praise until about ten years ago. I can’t remember the first time I saw someone do that but I do recall a feeling of simultaneous shock and awe.
‘Wow, that’s really great, but I could never do that.” I thought to myself.
It reminds me of something I heard Christian music artist Don Moen say during one of his concerts. Moen said he was from Northern Minnesota and his dad said something to him about the “enthusiasm” in his music.  Don replied in a manner indicating how awesome God is and what a deep, deep joy it is to be saved and set free by the blood of Jesus. “Well, yeah,” said his dad, “but I don’t see why you have to get so emotional about it.”
I absolutely get that God is worthy of our respect, but I also firmly believe what Jesus did for us is worthy of as many hearty “Hallelujahs” as we can muster.
As I was pondering all this, I had the radio tuned to Kinship Christian Radio and “Power in the Blood” came on.
Lord, how we need Your power
Every day and every hour
Lord, how we need Your power
Every day and every hour
Lord how we need Your
Power, power, wonder-working power
In the blood of the Lamb
Power, power, wonder-working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb
Yeah. That made it all clear.
I should have told those kids “Hallelujah” meant “YAY GOD!”
Today’s Praise
He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Luke 19:40 (ESV)
 

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