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Viewpoint from Rev Brian Hall 08/05/2020

Brian HallRev Brian Hall
Vicar, St Andrew’s Church, Gorleston-on-Sea

as published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has put tremendous pressure upon our National Health Service. NHS workers including doctors, nurses, midwives, health-care assistants, ambulance teams, and management are under enormous stress, unlike any they have probably ever experienced. At the time of writing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock reported that nineteen frontline NHS Workers have lost their lives in the fight against COVID-19
dove leftDuring the period of restricted movement and social distancing I’ve taken to riding my bicycle more regularly in order to get some daily exercise. As a result, I’ve passed by many houses displaying ‘rainbows of hope’. More often than not these displays include a ‘thank-you’ to the NHS
‘Clap for our Carers’ has also become a regular Thursday evening feature and a much-needed morale booster, uniting our nation during the present pandemic. Every carer whether they be a teacher, a supermarket worker, a delivery driver, or a cleaner, is deserving of every clap
The ‘clap for carers’ got me thinking about how people of faith, past and present, have applauded and expressed their appreciation to God. I was surprised to find that in the New International Version of the Bible the word ‘clap’ only appears eleven times, and never in the New Testament
Dove rightTwo of those eleven times, all from the Old Testament, are passages from the Psalms. Psalm 47 verse 1 says, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy”.  Psalm 98 verses 8-9 says, “Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth
Some branches of research suggest that there are many benefits from clapping. Clapping can boost your immunity because it strengthens the white blood cells which protect your body from many kinds of illnesses including heart conditions, hypertension, diabetes, depression, asthma, common cold, back, neck, joint pain headaches, insomnia, and hair loss. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also confirmed that clapping hands is one of the best daily activities if you want to feel content, peaceful and happy
I’m not sure where this little ‘ramble’ has taken me. I’m even wondering, for the first time, whether clapping is an appropriate way to applaud God in Christian worship. Whether it is or not, applaud God we must, whatever the circumstances!


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