Friday, May 29, 2015

I Want to Dance!



Psalm 149:3
Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.

Music has been dubbed the universal language.  I believe it.  There is nothing like music to make the heart soar, the voice rise in joyful song, and feet to move in blissful rhythm.  No matter our station in life, no matter our age, no matter our background, music unites us all under one happy umbrella.

No wonder, then, that music is such an integral part of Christian worship.  Whether traditional or contemporary, instruments play, voices sing, and our prayers take on manifold meaning as the lyrics are lifted up to heaven.

But what about dancing?  My husband, Danny, and I help lead contemporary worship each Sunday at Kennesaw United Methodist Church.  While the music rocks and the congregation willingly and happily sings along, the lack of any rhythmic accompaniment, i.e., dancing (even swaying, for crying out loud), is sorely lacking.  Now I'll be the first to admit, being raised Episcopalian, the seriously liturgical church from which Methodism has its roots, dancing has never been an acceptable nor encouraged form of worship.  So I'm not surprised at the dearth of movement among the congregants.  But I find myself longing for it.  Honestly, I can't sing a praise song and not wish I could dance like no one's watching.  However, if I wish to hold my pitch, my physical being has to focus on the singing and be satisfied with limited foot motion.

Children, though, have a very different take on what's "appropriate" for worship.  Several weeks ago at our service, there are several graduates of our church's preschool who, under the guidance of a teacher, are going to tell us about the great start they have been given in their education, and to ask support from the congregation to help grow the school.  Like a breath of fresh air, the moment our band cranks up, these sweet girls leap out of their pew and break into a celebratory dance which words fail to adequately describe.  Their teacher is beside herself until I meet her gaze and give her an enthusiastic thumbs-up.  Her relief is immediate, and the girls dance on until the very end of the song.

Our grandchildren, Virginia Rose and Savannah Jane, emphasize the joy of worship through dance.  "Play Gammie and Papa songs from church!"  Virginia begs Danny when the family recently visits.  "I want to dance!"

Do they get into it?  Oh, yes!











I rest my case . . .

~

What are your feelings about dancing in church?

Prayer:  Father, may we remember King David who danced in the streets in celebration of Your name when we are moved in worship to do the same.  May we become as guileless as little children when we pray to and honor You in all the ways we possibly can.  Remind us that we come before You in worship, not before others.  All this we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen

12 comments:


  1. seeing little kids dancing does not surprise me. We have a family whose girls love to dance during our worship time.I'm not too sure about seeing adults do that. I've seen liturgical dance but have not been excited by it even though I know it is legitimate as a form of worship. I am ambivalent on the whole thing.

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    1. It's great to hear your take on it, Bill, as you are a pastor. I appreciate your input so very much!
      Love and blessings!

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  2. Martha, it's amazing to see children worship the Lord. They "get it" so much better than we grown ups do. Having grown up in the Free Methodist (with a bit of Church of the Nazarene mixed in) and then joining the UMC as an adult dance wasn't emphasized. In fact, the Free Methodist and Nazarene really frowned upon any type of dancing--considering it SINFUL.

    I do sway a bit with the music (traditional and contemporary) and raise my hand(s), whether or not any one around me is.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Children DO get it so much better than we do, I agree, Kim. And your comment about the church of your upbringing reminds me of how my Dad was raised, though I can't now remember the religious sect's name as he rarely talked about it - but dancing, movies, etc., were all forbidden.
      I do sway when I sing (all I can do if I want to keep focused) and raise a hand when I feel so moved by the lyrics to do so. Glad you embrace some movement no matter what others might think! :)
      Love and blessings!

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  3. Hi Martha! I love the photos of your dancin' grandchildren! They feel the joy of the music! I was thinking of King David when I read your post, how he leapt and danced when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to it's righful place. Dance really does express joy.

    We don't have much opportunity for dance in our services. There is 'liturgical dance' but it's really seen rarely. I'd like to see more of it myself. All we do with reverence and joy is loved by God!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Thanks so much for your input here, Ceil. Yes, the kids really get into the swing of things around here. :) I thought of King David, too, and did include him in the closing prayer.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Dance on, I say!! Raise those tambourines. Sing praises to the Lord in all fashion. Love those photos too, Martha. they made me smile!

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    1. Amen, and again, I say, amen, Jean!!! Glad you enjoyed the photos, too. The girls were having a blast!
      Love and blessings!

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  5. The grandkids look like they're filled with so much joy and happiness. I'd dance in church Martha if I wasn't the only one doing it. lol Sometimes you're filled with so much joy and devotion, dancing is the only way to express it. I love attending churches where people do dance and show their devotion in all ways of creative expression.

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    1. I hear you, Vishnu! When we're the only one dancing, it can seem so awkward. I'm just one of those people who, when I hear music, I can't help but move even if it's only to tap my feet. I think I'd love to visit one of those churches where dancing is a natural part of worship.
      And yes, the girls were having a wonderful time!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. I'm rather reserved in my worship, so I'm not sure how I feel about dancing in church. But, I do love the abandoned and carefree attitude that children have about expressing their joy! I'm sure that I could learn a lesson from that. And from King David, who put aside his self-consciousness to dance in front of the Lord!!

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. We certainly all have a worship style which is most comfortable for us, Sharon, and God wants us to be authentic when we give Him praise. But yes, watching the children is such a joy! It's ever a freeing experience for me.
      Love and blessings!

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Pray!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ...