Saturday, February 24, 2024

When Praise Becomes Medicine.

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( I saw a post on Instagram recently of a brutha dancing in church, to a wonderful rendition of “For Every Mountain”. It was moving to me, and though the footwork was on point, it just seemed like he might have been releasing some burdens. Not to long after I saw that post there was another of an Elder and this sista was in a praise dance space and you could tell she was praying with the praise…there was more amazing footwork, but it seemed like there was no ending in site to this praise. As more of these videos popped up I started to pay attention to the few comments that would accuse the person praising of faking.

Come on many of us have seen others called out for faking, have called someone out for it, or was thinking it. Some may put on a show, but I began to feel something deeper is happening in this praise moment. This very well may be how some are choosing to relieve themselves of the burden of their week. Some of us are on various kinds of seeking therapy, and on medication for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and may other mental health situations. Furthermore, sometimes the stress of life can cause a heaviness that feels like the weight of the world is crashing down. There are various kinds of ways to handle heaviness.

Black Woman Praising The Lord.

If you’ve ever spent time with elders they tell us stories about the challenges they have lives through. Many are heartbreaking, and gut wrenching. It can leave us wondering how they were able to manage their emotional pain, mental anguish, and still keep it together enough to raise a family. Many of them found ways to still work in their community; it could be said the energy poured into their work helped them get through the challenges of life. Well, one thing that was staple in black community was the church. We’ve known elders whereby if they did nothing else they made it to church on Sunday.

Yes, it could be for many reasons besides just getting the word, but there was also praise & worship. During this part of service they’d sing their hearts out, pray openly, praise loudly, dance, run, some were prostrate before the alter.  If we had been paying attention to them the praise moment had been building all week long. They would be walking around the house talking to God, praying, and singing the hymns. Sometimes we’d get insight as they tell us they had to praise God on Sunday…they needed to lay their burdens down.

As I thought about my grandparents and my mother, I realized this praise was their medicine. This time on Sunday was their therapy session, they talk to God, cried out…got it out, and physically through the dancing and even running worked it out. It doesn’t take much to realize this is also an important part of our culture as a people…basically when they got to the music they worked through the heaviness. They didn’t have access to mental healthcare, some barely had access to physical healthcare. If praise is their medicine who are we, or anyone else, to judge them for their choice of medicine.

There is nothing wrong with them relieving their heaviness and it ought not be mocked, for in doing so we also mock culture. Song and dance has always been therapy for our people and that’s not fake…so when we see the posts of those that praise, lets leave them be. They are hurting no one, and they aren’t hurting themselves. Many are working through their issue, and even if it’s not the path you’d choose they are doing what is best for their spirit, and that should be respected.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

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