By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister
One joy of our common life together as Holy Family’s EYC is to worship together on Sunday evenings, down in the Christian Commons, standing in a circle. Because our worship is often done accapella, we utilize songs from traditions like Taize’ chants and African American spirituals. During September, “He’s got the Whole World in His Hands” was part of our worship set.
Male pronouns aside, this is an awesome song, particularly because it allows us to improvise our own verses. The first few weeks, we sang the scripted lyrics like, “He’s got the wind and the rain in his hands, He’s got the night and the day in his hands, He’s got the sun and the moon in his hands, He’s got the whole world his hands.” But towards the end of the month we let the youth improvise the verses. Anyone could come to the “improvising spot” in the circle and lead a verse: s/he would sing, “He’s got ___________” and we would respond, “In his hands.” So on this night, God had “all the food,” “all the drinks,” and “all the desserts,” in God’s hands; God also had “the Duke Blue Devils,” “the UNC Tarheels,” and “the LSU Tigers,” in God’s hands; and we had much joy and laughter.
But the best moment of this worshipful improv came as a surprise to us all. “He’s got all the creepy bugs in his hands; He’s got all of the snakes in his hands; He’s got everything that scares us in his hands; He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Sometimes we get ideas in our head that take on new life when they come out of our mouth. Perhaps this youth was continuing his “creepy crawly” theme when he sang, “He’s got everything that scares us,” but hearing and responding, “In his hands” seemed to bring home the full implications of those words. God’s got everything that scares us in God’s hands. There’s a lot of truth in that claim. What comfort! What an invitation to trust! Surely, what a good reason to raise our voices in worship!