The Sunday Sample: Episode 86. “Posture in Corporate Worship”

Part 4 – Raising Eyes. Malcolm Cox

What is the usefulness and relevance of movement and posture in corporate worship? This is the Fourth in a series on this topic inspired by a chapter in “Participating in Worship” by Craig Douglas Erickson.

Today we look at the issue of raising our eyes. 

According to Jesus, our eyes are windows of the soul (Matthew 6:22). Biblically eyes are connected with:

  1. God’s favour (2 Kings 12:2; Isaiah 49:5).
  2. Human religious knowledge (Genesis 3:6).
  3. Pride and last (Psalm 17:27; 2 Peter 2:14).
  4. Remembrance of the saving acts of God (Exodus 13).
  5. Spiritual blindness or insight (Isaiah 6:9-10; John 12:40; Acts 28:26-27).

What about Jesus? He “looked up to heaven” when praying over the five loaves and two fish (Luke 9:16). He prayed for the oneness of the church with lifted eyes (John 17:1). He lifted his eyes to pray at the raising of Lazarus (John 11:41).

Quoting Erickson, “The lifting up of eyes is a naturally integrating posture for prayer. As eyes are lifted, one’s whole being is turned toward God. The lifting up of eyes becomes the look of a child gazing upward into the face of a parent, fully confident of a loving and supportive relationship.”

Whilst we all understand that God is not “up there”, there’s something about looking upward which might benefit us in our corporate worship. In more traditional buildings, especially cathedrals, where ceilings are so high as to be almost “in the heavens” the opportunity to look up grants an opportunity to consider the transcendent. How might we achieve this in the various homes, halls and buildings we use? That’s something I leave with you, and I’d love to know what you think.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John