Devotional — ‘When we all get to heaven’

Published 3:34 pm Friday, September 16, 2022

As a little girl, I loved watching the older women (who we called “Mothers of the Church”, or elders) get excited when certain gospel songs or hymns were sung by the choir.  They would clap their hands, perform a rhythmic dance we called “shouting,” and perhaps take over “leading” the song.” Usually, the entire congregation would join in!

As I grew older and studied scripture more intensely, I discovered it was in God’s plan that worshipers “make a joyful noise unto the Lord” (Psalm 100:1). As I grew more mature and understood that praise was an integral part of worship, I understood that it was the clapping of hands, dancing, and voices lifted up in song, that enabled many worshipers to overcome the dis-appointments and challenges prevalent in their lives.

As spontaneous praise has become more a part of worship services, it is no longer relegated to a particular ethnic group. Today, the handclapping exuberance of gospel music is welcomed and encouraged by various Christian denominations, involving the young and the “not so young!” I experienced this at this year’s Good Friday Service held at New Life Church in Cumberland. I was overjoyed to witness persons from various ethnic groups singing, clapping their hands and having a “hallejuah” good time in worship.

To witness unabashed joy in sacred praise and fellowship, brings to mind the words of an old song of the Church, “When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be; when we all see Jesus, we will sing and shout the victory.”

Just imagine: Native Americans, Mexicans, Orientals, Black, White, and every other race gathered together in a place called Heaven and unashamedly praising a supernatural power greater than man’s ability to describe!

Rev. Dr. Mary C. “Kitty” Smith is the Pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Buckingham. She can be reached at