You can tell a lot about a church by the way they use their hands in worship. In fact, you could blindfold me so I couldn’t see the name of the church you’re taking me to, then take the blindfold off when we got in the sanctuary, and I could tell you what church we’re in by the way folks use their hands in worship.
For example, Nazarenes are “one-handers”; when we get blessed or feel moved by the worship, we put one hand up in the air.
Pentecostals are “two-handers”; when they get blessed, they vigorously and happily put two hands up in the air. Pentecostals are happy worshipers. Here’s a little church history for new Nazarenes: In 1907, we called ourselves the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene, but by 1919, our arms got so tired from holding two hands up in the air during worship, we dropped the Pentecostal part. Guess we didn’t want to be that happy.
Now, if you’ve ever been to an Episcopal church, you’ve noticed they sit on their hands for fear they might get blessed and be confused with Nazarenes or Pentecostals. Then there’s the Church of Christ (great name for a church, by the way) and bless their hearts—they won’t even shake hands! What’s up with that?
I’ve seen people act downright foolish at football games on Saturday. In Wisconsin, they put cheese on their heads; in Arkansas, they make hog noises; and in Texas, they raise both hands while tucking their middle and ring fingers (somehow it’s to symbolize the horns on a cow . . . wow!). Football fans make Pentecostals look Episcopalian. Yet, when they get to church on Sunday morning, they look like the pictures on their driver’s licenses.
God deserves the praises of his people—can I get an “amen”? Psalm 134:2 (NIV) says “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” Put your hands in the air!
MARK HOLLINGSWORTH serves as senior pastor of Edmond (OK) First Church of the Nazarene