The 4-stages of Presbyterian Hand-Raising

Sunday – in church I stepped out a little bit. Literally – from behind the keyboard (by the way – i’ve been standing at a keyboard for the past month and a half).

We’ve gone through quite the transition as a Presbyterian church over the years that I’ve been at oak mountain. People have come and gone – we’ve grown quite a bit, and we’ll sometimes get transfer growth from other pres churches in the area. Having said that – I FEEL like (notice that this is all based on my feelings – no facts) sometimes our folks are hindered in their freedom of expression in worship. Maybe it’s from being tired. Maybe it’s worrying about the person next to you. Maybe this morning just isn’t your morning. In any case – I thought I’d offer a little bit of instruction on the appropriate and acceptable forms of Presbyterian hand-raising.

Stage 1 – palms turned, facing front – and inside wrist bones stuck to hip bones. NO forearm movement is allowed in phase one. Palms can be slightly elevated.

Stage 2 – palms facing up, forearms parallel with the ground. It’s important to note in phase two there is to be NO deviation in this parallel forearm position – slightly elevated puts the palms facing you. Slightly lowered can be inappropriate with someone standing in front of you.

Stage 3 – One arm up – palm forward, but the tips of the fingers do NOT break the plane of the shoulder. It’s very important that you keep those finger tips even with the top of your shoulder.

Stage 4 – Both arms in the air – as high as they will go. Palms facing forward. Pit stains revealed.

I love stage 4. I don’t get to exhibit stage 4, as my primary instrument is piano – but nonetheless – I love the posture that it puts us in. Think about the insecurity of standing up, arms as high as they’ll go. Try it – standing up in your house, or office. It makes us feel vulnerable. We’re worried about what others might think. Did we use enough deodorant? Are others doing it around us?

At the moment each of our three boys could pull themselves up in the crib – they would do stage 4 as soon as we walked in the room. Unable to speak – but able to shoot their arms straight up in the air, as if to say “get me outta here.”

Isn’t that exactly where the Father wants us? Not just in our sunday morning worship services – but in life? Complete surrender – insecure to our peers – but secure in His grip, knowing that He’s gonna get us outta here.

So be freed up. For those of you that were waiting for “Jason to say something so we could be freed up,” consider yourselves freed up. But not because of anything I said – but knowing that you’re completely secure in your Father’s grip, and He’s sending his son to get us outta here.

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