(ThyBlackMan.com) Church is supposed to be that place we can go to get a word from God and praise him. It should be a place of safety, upliftment, and support. For all of the positive things church can offer can we take a moment and talk about Praise and Worship in a Sunday morning in some black churches. Granted I LOVE the culture of our churches it is rich, and a deep part of community. There is nothing like black church on Sunday morning…it is an experience like none other. With that being said, I admit there was a time I was frightened of a certain part of church service, and the praise portion registered to me as dangerous. My fear of this portion of church stayed with me into my teenage years when my parents found a church that was able to alleviate my fear through order, but as an adult I find myself dealing with a bit of anxiety to this day. My original misunderstanding of “catching the spirit” was unsettling and made me dread going to church if I had to be there when the catching started.
I guess the fear began when I was a small girl attending church with my grandparents. I knew at a certain part of praise & worship the worshipers would get “happy” as grandma called it. Some ran around the church, some shouted, but there were those that would jump and shout…it would look as if they were having an out of body experience. I always wondered if they were themselves in that moment…or had the “spirit” took over. I would see some women hold babies, and when they caught that spirit some babies went up in the air to be caught by others. As a child I knew this was dangerous, but nothing prepared me for my own encounter.
While sitting next to my grandmother in the choir stand a sister caught that spirit…and I was punched out the section. I was taken completely off my feet. If I hadn’t been afraid before at that moment, I was truly terrified. I know the moment when the tempo of the music change, and the chords the organ would hit, to be on guard because the spirit was coming and there as no telling what was going to happen. I’ve scene folks run themselves in to poles, and it caused sever anxiety for me. Praise had become dangerous. It might be important for Christians to consider how this can be problematic in church services…especially for children.
I am in no way saying we should not worship God freely, but we should also realize its not a show. I am grateful that I was able to attend a church that eased my fear while teaching about the Spirit of God. Now, I don’t see it as something to fear or run from. While expressing our praise and worship we may want to be mindful not to hurt ourselves or others. it may be time that we reflect on this part of church culture.
Though it is the source of many social media laughs…what does that say about the reality of our faith, and the importance of it. When praise becomes volatile or harmful it can have on wondering what “spirit” has gotten loose, and if its really of God. This is not me saying it is or is not…but if can leave someone effected by the behavior questioning their faith. Praise should be uplifting…not terrifying.
Staff Writer; Christian Starr
May connect with this sister over at Facebook; C. Starr and also Twitter; MrzZeta.