The Way She Worshipped


She came in just moments before the lights dimmed, just as the band was taking the stage. She sat on the aisle seat and two others who seemed to be friends sat next to her. As the first song began, she stepped out into the aisle and ever so slowly turned all the way around, taking it all in. I was in the seat right behind her, and I watched her curiously as I sang.

She lifted her left hand high in the air, fingers together, pointing toward the screen where her eyes were reading the words her lips were mouthing. A few minutes later, her left arm went down and her right arm went up. One arm was in the air for the entire duration of the worship set.

I've never seen her before, and it didn't seem like she had been there before either. Maybe she's been there for years, just always at a different service from me, I don't know.

What I know is that she worshipped beautifully. I couldn't help but smile as I watched her. In a church where we sometimes forget to clap after a song and we mostly stay politely quiet and hands are rarely raised, I loved her brave audacity to worship proudly. I loved her unapologetic hand in the air, waving as she turned, pointing upward to heaven. I loved the smile on her face as she sang sweet words to the Lord. I loved the extra large print King James Bible with wrinkled pages that she pulled out when Psalms was read aloud between songs, just so she could follow along. I loved the way she nodded along to the pastor as he spoke. I loved watching her worship. I don't know her, and I didn't even get a chance to introduce myself, but I'm grateful for her.

In the middle of my wishing we danced a little more, I'm grateful for the reminder that worship isn't about who's around me or who's watching. I'm grateful for the reminder that the Lord created our hearts for worship-- brave and beautiful and unapologetic worship. I'm grateful for the reminder that our hands are for raising in praise and clasping together in prayer and tracing words on wrinkled Bible pages. I'm grateful for her and for her heart of worship.

I Wish We Danced A Little More

I wish we danced a little more. I wish, when the drum sticks click to give us the beat, we all started tapping our feet. When the melody starts, I wish we swayed with it, feeling it coursing through our bodies and responding intuitively. I wish we raised our hands when the words stuck chords in our hearts, wish we clenched our fists when they hit us in the best way. I wish we let our bodies be part of the worship more than we do.

We stand still, poised and polite. We sway slightly but mostly stand still. We stare ahead, singing along if we know the words, silent if we don't and silent if we just don't care.

I wish we danced a little more. I wish we spread out into the aisles so we all had room to breathe, and I wish we moved. I wish, when the voice from the stage sang loud, we sang back just as proudly. I wish we responded in a way that made it all seem like a glorious dance, like a swirling, twirling, twisting dance of words and limbs and songs of praise.

I wish we felt more free. I wish we weren't so aware of the hundreds of eyes around us, so worried about what those hundreds of minds might think. I wish we just moved as the Spirit moves.

I wish we shouted "AMEN" and declared "Yes, Lord!" as the message was given. I wish we murmured our assent more, nodded our heads more, clapped in affirmation more. I wish we raised our hands more, fell to our knees more, laughed out loud and cried more.

Inside of me is a girl wanting to break free and dance wildly around the sanctuary's chairs. Inside of me is a girl wishing to worship wholeheartedly and freely with voice and dance and every beat of my heart. Inside of me is a girl who feels just a little bit stuck in her own skin, more afraid than she should be to worship her Creator as she desires. Inside of me is a girl who wants to shake the standards off her shoulders and shatter the stereotypes and just let it all go at the feet of her Savior.

Isn't that what worship should be? An outpouring of love-- heartfelt, pure, true, expressive, wholehearted, honest, authentic, all-we've-got for all-You-are kind of love?

I wish we worshipped a little more wildly. I wish we danced a little more.