Saturday, May 08, 2010

Sunday Lectionary Devotion: STOMP! Psalm 67

Psalm 67: 3 May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.

I went to see “Stomp!” last year at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville. It was absolutely incredible. The performers and dancers were fantastic and their rhythmic use of paper bags, brooms, and metal chairs was totally amazing. I came away from the theater completely astounded and for a couple of weeks I was tapping and slapping rhythms all over my house, my car, and my office.

I often wish that church could be like that on Sunday mornings. I’ve tried over the years to encourage more participation in worship by our church people. I feel that the more they put into praising God, the more that they will get out of it. I think way back in the days of the psalmist, worship must have been more celebratory and theatrical than it is now. I sometimes wonder what the original psalmists would have thought about our neat and tidy hymn and prayer sandwich services. They were more into an all day event with trumpets and harps, tambourines and horns. They certainly wouldn’t have been anxious to get out after an hour in order to get to the restaurants before the bigger churches finished their worship!

The old Hebrew word for praise is ‘yadah,’ which actually means to hold out your hands and lift them up to God. What I saw at “Stomp!” last year was yadah in action. I definitely think that if more modern worshippers were to allow themselves to praise God by lifting up their hands and exalting the Lord’s Name, they would feel freer and closer to God. Who knows, maybe this Sunday “Stomp!” will come into our sanctuary and the Spirit will lead our people in pure and powerful praise.

Prayer: Lord God, over the centuries You must have seen some amazing, diverse, and incredible worship services from different cultures, nations, and denominations. Your Spirit astounds us from time to time with energy, vitality, and presence. Help us to be more open to praising You in freer and more faithful ways. In Christ’s Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to


Sarahlynn said...

I love STOMP!

runnin 2 Him said...

Amen...The presbyterians need to stop playing the role of the "frozen chosen."