When I am sitting in church, there are a few things that make me want to slam my forehead into the pews in front of me. But recently, there is nothing that makes me want to do this more so than clapping during church?
The Divine Service (and indeed any service) is one where we first of all receive what God gives us in His Word and Sacraments. As of second import we respond to what we are given in calling upon the name of God, prayer, praise, and giving thanks. The entire service is a back and forth flow between God giving and us receiving and responding.
So, into which part of the service does clapping fit? Why are you clapping? The people who clap likely have not even considered this. Are you clapping in response to what God has done for you?
Or... are you clapping for the group of kids who just finished singing a song about how they love Jesus? Are you clapping for the trumpeter who has just played the descant to "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" in the grandest fashion? Are you clapping for the choir who has just sung a grand piece at a most appropriate time of the year?
Why are we clapping for people who are presenting their gifts and talents in works of service to the church? Why have we turned our attention off of our Lord during the service and put it on men? Why do we so often cheer and applaud the works of men, rather than keep our attention on the greatest work ever done for us by God - the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins?
It astounds me.
I guess the sinful flesh will have its way with us and rebel against God, especially during the time when God is trying to give us His most precious gifts.
Holy Spirit work in us to focus our attention on the true center of God's Divine Service, Jesus Christ.