Am I too expressive in worship on Sunday mornings? I confess sometimes I ask myself that question. I try to be focused on God in worship, and yet sometimes I am aware that the majority of our congregation is sitting behind me and can see me when I lift my hands or dance around. What do people think? Do they think I’m fake and just putting on a show? I admit sometimes those thoughts have crossed my mind.
I found some reassurance this week when I was reading Psalm 40. King David writes, “I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O Lord. I do not hide your righteousness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.” (Verses 9-11). In this psalm, written by David and intended to be sung in the Temple in worship, the king covenants that he will worship and proclaim the truth of God’s righteousness and salvation in front of the people. He won’t hold himself back or reign himself in. He is at the front of the people worshipping the Lord with all his heart.
These weren’t just boastful words for David. He reminds the Lord of their truthfulness. He has already demonstrated his willingness to worship the Lord with all his heart, no matter what others may think of him. You’ll recall the time when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem and David danced before the Lord in worship and celebration (2 Samuel 6:12-19). This was a public celebration of God’s faithfulness and goodness, and David was all in. And this wasn’t just David putting on a show for the people – God would have seen right through that. This was David worshipping the Lord out in front of the people, and with dancing.
If it’s okay for King David …
I still have a way to go though. I haven’t brought myself to dance before the Lord in front of everyone yet (though there have been times when I’ve felt the impulse). But I am more and more at ease with putting my whole heart into the worship of the Lord when we’re together as a church. And I’m less concerned about what those behind me may think. In fact, I hope that, just in case, anyone is looking at me during worship, they will feel encouraged to worship freely, and perhaps more expressively themselves. It would be worth it. Because He is worth it!