By Patrick Hawthorne
“Alright! It is time for me to fess up. “I, Patrick Hawthorne, am a hand raiser.” Yep. There you have it. I raise my hands in church and I’m proud of it. I don’t wish to offend anyone, but sometimes I raise one hand…sometimes two. Sometimes I reach for the heavens as if being held up by a bank robber. Other times, I have a slight dip in the elbows as if giving the signal that an angel just kicked one through the goal posts of life.”
“I wasn’t always a hand raiser – [sigh]. I mean, I didn’t set out to be a hand raiser; it just happened one day. I was in church…well, let’s start at the beginning. Years ago, my wife and I visited a church that my parents attended. As we walked in, the people were nice enough and inviting. However, I was at unease because I don’t like crowds and this church, although not huge, was big enough that I felt a tad bit uncomfortable.”
“I’m wandering off course…let me get back on target.”
“Anyways, service started and the praise and worship was phenomenal. I felt a peace surround me that I had never felt before. I wanted more. When my wife and I left that service we made the decision that we would go back. True to our word, we came back the next week. Again, the praise and worship was outstanding as well as the teaching. I was not being preached at, I was being taught. This was wonderful. Week number three and we were back.”
“The music director, Mrs. Becky, led off in praise that eventually turned to worship. That was a pivotal point for me…That’s when I felt the nudging.
“Go ahead,” this little voice whispered. “Go on, raise your hands…I promise you will like it.”
“I was aghast. “But, people will stare!” I inwardly shouted back to the voice.”
“No they won’t…go ahead, try it.”
“The temptation was so strong. Sweat began to bead on my forehead. I resisted…O’ how I resisted. “Ok…just a little bit. If I don’t like it, I can always stop.” Beginning with one finger raised towards the sky, I slowly began the uplift of my left arm. Inch by inch…shoulder high…up to my ear…above my head…Touchdown! It felt great. It was as if I had just released all fears, all doubts, and all the junk in my life unto the Lord. Suddenly, the right hand shot up to the sky. I was in a heavenly bliss…and then, my mind began to think. “Oh God, everyone is looking at me aren’t they?”
Slowly opening my eyes, I was expecting the scene from “Back to the Future,” where Michael J. Fox is playing the guitar solo towards the end of the movie and he gets carried away. When he realizes that the rest of the band is not playing, he opened his eyes to see the whole auditorium of teenagers staring blankly back at him. To my amazement, no one was staring. As a matter of fact, those around me had their hands raised as well. All was good…All was right with the world.
Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name (Psalm 63:4 NKJV)