Why Dance Should Be Part of Worship Per Psalm 149

*ducks the flying daggers and rolls for cover under her computer stand*

I’m going to start with a story… actually two. And they will dove tail at the end… sort of.

Story 1

Many moons ago, when I went to a small liberal arts college to major in a physical science, I acquired a gaggle of friends of all genders, denominations, religions, spiritualities, sexualities, etc. You get the picture–proper rebel without a clue about life, love, and relationships.

Judy was in that group. She was tiny with a focused ball of energy that carried her through studies and extracurricular activities and clubs and late night game nights. She was actually a theology major at our liberal arts college of one denomination, but she wasn’t that denomination. She had a dynamic way of bridging all denominations and explaining us to ourselves.

She had an irreverent yet fun phrase to explain the Bible, “Like Prego, it’s all in there.” She was trying to teach us that God put together every jot and tittle of that Good Book to help us live life in a way that pleased Him. Not that I was quite ready for that lesson at the time.

Story 2

I have always been frustrated by some Christians’ attitudes to resist new things. New music styles, new songs, new ways of ministry… I agree that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. However, we are broken people living in a broken world. Things change; nature cannot create order without extensive energy expenditure, so entropy rules the day. However, even in the midst of an entropy tidal wave, our knowledge in many subjects is expanding exponentially. Change can and must happen as long as it does not violate God’s Law.

Dance is one of those “new” things. Some Christians seem to see dance as a delight to the enemy. And I would agree in most cases in the modern world. However, I believe there are and could be forms of dance that Abba would find pleasing. Unfortunately, I never knew how to prove it… until recently.

Since my surgery, my sleep patterns have been greatly disturbed. When I can’t sleep at night and I’m too tired to read, I channel surf. One of my favorite overnight shows is Reflections. They do pretty soothing music and scenery with Scripture verses (obviously, it’s not airing right now). Most recently Psalm 149:3 flashed on the screen. I would have danced for delight had I not just had abdominal surgery!

Synthesis

This is where the stories get tied together. I encourage you to review all of Psalm 149; some of my favorite variations include International Children’s Bible, Complete Jewish Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and New King James. Avoid Douay-Rheims; it just misses the mark.

Although I had always assumed the psalm was written by King David, its unknown author has issued a call to worship that isn’t just about sitting around singing songs, sharing socials, and staying within the four walls of a place of worship.

It starts by telling us what worship is. It is praise to God Most High.

Then it tells us how it is accomplished. You sing songs. You play music, and right there in verse 3, you dance!

The psalm also tells us where it is accomplished. We can worship corporately in a public assembly or quietly in the privacy of our beds.

Finally, we are given a two-fold why. The first is a being reason: because Abba is happy with us and loves us; He saves us through Jesus. The second is a doing reason: the psalmist issues a battle cry and we are to fight the battles Abba gives us to expand His kingdom. Yes, worship is a weapon of warfare, and dance is just one tool in our arsenal.

Let’s keep fighting the good fight!

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