Dancing in church? Are you kidding me?! Sure it says to dance in scripture – but, how AWKWARD is that?! The only dance in church I’ve ever experienced in all my years in church were done by women covering every inch of skin in long flowing dresses and probably instructed to make sure the dance isn’t too sensuous. That has its place too, but I never could understand the connection between that and David dancing before the Lord in his underwear! …not that I want to see ANYONE dancing in their underwear mind you!
How I’ve changed my tune. There’s a great deal more at stake here for the church than I ever imagined. Maybe even more than what you might think! Here’s why…
The last couple of years, we have been attending a Messianic Jewish congregation where congregational dancing is the norm to start the worship service. I was intrigued from the very beginning. By far the majority of the congregation gets up and does (for lack of a better term and to get the best image across) Jewish “line-dancing.” Everyone does the same steps forming a circle around the church and dances to all of the latest praise and worship songs you would find in any evangelical church service. The first time I saw it, it was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.
THIS is what it means to worship the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength! All of your being is engaged together as you have the opportunity to dance and sing to the Lord!
That’s nice and all… but that isn’t my point. Historically, dance was a part of celebration and worship to the Lord for many, many generations and many hundreds of years. Throughout the Bible, there are instances of people celebrating together through dance with key events. The people danced after passing through the Red Sea in Exodus. David danced (and I’m pretty sure he probably wasn’t the only one) when the Ark of the Covenant (representing God’s presence) was brought into the city of David and when it was placed in the Holy of Holies. Dancing is mentioned many times in the Psalms. Dancing is even mentioned in Jeremiah 31 with the prophecy of the New Covenant.
So what happened to dancing in the church? Of all the fine arts, (music, art, poetry, theater, story-telling, and dance) dance has become the only “inappropriate” expression of worship in the church. I’m not sure where it happened or why, and it will sound harsh, but I think the church has been completely defeated on this point! Satan and his minions, have come in and stripped the church of an expression of congregational worship that was always meant to be. The enemy began whispering to the church that dancing was inappropriate in church – until it no longer existed there. Dancing is acceptable in every secular place imaginable, but not in the church.
I’m thankful and so grateful to be in a church that has redeemed dance back from the enemy and for God! It has redeemed to it’s rightful place – as an expression of corporate celebration offered by the people of God. There is nothing “sensuous” and it’s just plain, downright fun to celebrate with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ this way.
While it’s a personal experience, it’s also very much a corporate experience. This is not me dancing in my own little world, this is me connecting with every other person in the dance circle – connecting through common movements, eye contact and smiles, singing, laughing, and enjoying worshiping God together. This is a celebration of unity among the people and in relationship with God. Our church does it SO well and I’m incredibly blessed to have been given yet another expression of worship to add to my worship language. Consider me a dancing fool… I’m okay with that.