On last evening in homes across the country in addition to the buzz celebrating Serena Williams’ 18th grand slam title, was the excitement of the 60s babies for a special Schoolhouse Rock retrospect and sing-a-long. For an hour, I had the pleasure of reflecting upon my childhood Saturday morning ritual of pancakes and pajamas while dancing and singing and learning all rolled into one. Near the end of the program, we were treated to what was referred to as the “extra credit” video of “Verb.” This one was especially important to many of my friends as a child because it featured main characters who were Black, and a lead singer who sounded like he should be a member of the Temptations, accompanied by fierce background singers.
Forty years later, I still love “Verb!” However, it has a different meaning for me now. As a child, the song referred to action. Growing up on the south side of Chicago, there was always something to do, someone to play with and someplace to go. Judging by my friend’s timelines who still live in my beloved city, not much has changed. Yet my action, my most important action, which sits at the core of my being is praise. It requires the activity of my limbs, the rhythm of my movement and the sound of my voice. Having been recovering from surgery and its after shocks over the last six weeks, I have been limited in my movement. For a dancer, who uses her body for praise and worship, this has been a hard pill to swallow. In appropriation of “Verb,” I do my praise in action! To pray, to sing, to clap, to shout, to dance, to run, to leap, to believe! Each of these require a history fueled by faith affirming the goodness of the Lord in my life. Yes, the last six weeks have been challenging, but each day I am presented, I must actively thank God for another opportunity despite how I am feeling physically. There is purpose in my awakening – as there is for you as well. As the scripture reminds, “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). The Bible is filled with action oriented scripture and employment to persist despite the circumstances we are presented. I can further boldly state that nothing difficult has ever come to me that has not strengthened me in Christ in ways that I never could have imagined or constructed on my best day. That is why we are reminded that his strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God’s grace in our lives presents itself as a verb. It is covering, protecting, strengthening, shielding, giving, living, touching and loving. Through it ALL, it is ever present, ever attainable and ever encompassing. As we are presented with the grace of God, we must be ever mindful, and action oriented to extend such grace to others – those who we love, as well as those that we are challenged to simply like. After all, God isn’t always pleased with each of our “actions” either; but he looks beyond our faults. This is an action that we can emulate daily. It manifests in small steps. For example, yesterday, praise was high in our church service. I wanted to run, I wanted to dance, but physically, I was unable. However, I began with the most intentionally quick walk that I could muster up. It was as my pastor would say, “my best praise” for the moment.
In the words of “Verb,” in my praise, is where I find satisfaction! In it, I don’t know my own power! For our praise signals God. It makes him lean in, and makes him take action! Yes, that’s what’s happening! Praise allows us to suspend our beliefs about a person, place or thing (check the noun reference) and focus on our Incredible God (check the adjective reference) to respond. I do my praise in action! Hallelujah! (check the interjection)
Check the video. The ending is the best and reminds us to love…