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