Come, everyone, and clap your hands for joy! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the Lord Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. He subdues the nations before us, putting our enemies beneath our feet. He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance, the proud possession of Jacob's descendants, whom he loves. Psalm 47 1-4 NLT
Growing up, I always understood from my mother that it was rude to clap your hands in church. So, even if the rest of the congregation was clapping, I followed my mother's example and never did. I guess that was to indicate that we were in worship not in a performance.
In my current church, we clap for various reasons but mostly to celebrate with someone who brings their praises to the congregation. It is a sign of happiness, of joy. We join in with that individual or family in their praises. Not only that, if we like a song, we feel comfortable joining in and clapping. It is a way to express praise.
The psalmist tells us that we should clap our hands with joy (sorry, Momma). We should be shouting to God in worship (tell that to us Caucasian Methodists). We aren't just being noisy or rude.
The reason is that God is king over the earth. God has subdued all the forces of evil, putting them beneath our feet. God has given us a grand inheritance, even greater than the Promised Land: eternal life.
God, you are awesome and you love us. We give you thanks and praise with shouts and clapping of hands. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims