When was the last time you clapped your hands?
In the days before the COVID-19 pandemic we thought nothing of clapping our hands at concerts, sporting events and other gatherings. There’s nothing like showing your appreciation to a talented performer by clapping enthusiastically. Then the pandemic hit. Large gatherings came to a halt and so did the clapping. It seems like a long time since I attended any event that featured lots of clapping. The focus was more on washing and sanitizing our hands rather than clapping them.
Now that things are starting to get back to normal, large gatherings are on the horizon and we can get back to clapping. I’m pretty sure that clapping is like riding a bike; even if you haven’t done it for a while it will come back to you quite easily. Although, have you noticed how some people clap? It’s like they’ve never had proper clapping lessons!
Clapping is a very in-person activity. All the while we were stuck at home during the pandemic binging Netflix never once did I have the urge to clap, even after a watching a great show. It just does not seem right to clap in front of a TV.
There are times when a performance ends and everyone spontaneously breaks into clapping. Other times one person starts clapping for a second or two before others join in. Some concerts have unwritten rules for clapping and the audience is expected to know when to clap.
Although my church is not so much into clapping, clapping in worship is mentioned in the Bible. In Psalm 47 it says, “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!  For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.” (Psalm 47:1-2)
There are times when it is not enough just to clap your hands. You need to shout as well. That is certainly the case when we realize that God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, his Son, forgives all our sins and promises us eternal life.
The Bible even encourages other parts of God’s creation to join in the clapping:
“Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together  before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 98:8-9)
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)
I’ve never seen trees and rivers clap their hands but God is such a great and wonderful God I can see why they would want to.
Ezekiel 6 talks about clapping in anger: “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Clap your hands and stamp your foot and say, Alas, because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, for they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.’” (Ezekiel 6:11)
This verse makes me think of God like a parent trying to get the attention of a child that is misbehaving.
There will be many milestones along the way to putting the pandemic behind us; reducing our need for masks and social distancing, gathering again in large groups, traveling freely to see loved ones. One milestone that I’m particularly looking forward to is clapping in support of the many talented people in this world.