Continuing our series looking at healing through the Creative Arts it is interesting to try and fathom one of the Lord’s great mysteries!
Movement and Dance in Worship (No.1 Introduction)
“we dance because we cannot fly”…………. Guy Chevreau
In order to break the myth that you need to be professionally trained and the taboo that dance doesn’t have a place within the body of Christ we only have to look to scripture to understand how God uses this particular creative gift. The ability to move and dance in worship can have the effect of bringing about freedom, restoration, wholeness and healing for His children.
Psalm 30 v 11 reminds us that “He turns our mourning into dancing, removes our sackcloth and clothes us with pure joy.”
For a root that dance is unacceptable to the onlooker we need look no further than the scorn that Michal had for David when he danced before the ark. However, in David we have two things a legacy and a role model regarding dancing before the Lord. Dance and movement in worship brings scripture to life, is a tool in biblical storytelling and has a prophetic unction.
2 Sam 6 “The Ark Brought to Jerusalem.”
There are several references in the Bible, to dance and to women dancing and playing tambourines. It was a main feature of the extravagant worship in the Tabernacle of David, and of course, it is not unusual for men to lead in dance.
Jeremiah 31 v 13 “maidens will dance and be glad young men and old as well”
We know from our experience of being in the world that when people dance there is a freedom that comes with it. Although it is often beautiful to watch, what freedom and what cost comes with it? Worldly dance is often performance driven, raucous, seductive, hallucinogenic, needy of man’s approval, full of self, idolatry, rejection, competition and can crush the spirit from within. Dance cannot be separated from an inherent interpretation of music, but whether it is in the secular arena or in Christian worship it is a powerful force in lifting hearts and spirit.
When “Our Maker” anoints His chosen, the spirit of the Lord empowers and dwells within bringing the true freedom, healing and the wholeness that only comes from an intimate knowledge of and relationship with Him.
Rom 8:11 “He gives life to our mortal bodies”
When the Holy Spirit stirs up this gift in a believer it brings about a hunger for His presence. The knowledge that we are accepted by Him is twofold. One, is a sense of His holiness, awe and wonder which enables us to surrender our whole being to Him, (spirit, soul and body.) The second is celebration. The overflow of joy, thanksgiving and abandonment all of which reveal the character of God in the dancer. We serve a creative God but unlike the worldly expression of dance we learn to worship the “giver not the gift.”
“Dance in Church?” “Are you joking?” Negative connotations reaped over centuries of a worldly understanding of dance has played a large part in this gift not being acceptable in the Kingdom of the God of the bible.