Category Archives: dance

The Dancing Toddler

He toddles along.
He holds his mom’s feather
And wears his dad’s scarf.
He looks in wonder
At the warriors and elders–
Different clothes, different steps,
Yet all to the rhythm of the drums.

He’s like me…
The whole world dances around me.
I have my father’s crucifix
And my mother’s spirit and tenacity.
I am awed
By the Chinese and the Muslims and the Amazon tribes.
The colors swirl around me,
The languages enchant me,
But we have no common rhythm.

The world as it fills me with wonder
Leaves me confused and reeling in my soul.
I cannot find the patterns.
I cannot make sense of it all.

Like him I wander in wonder.

I Can’t Dance

My world is off kilter.
My center of balance is gone.
Science and its truths
Have stolen the heritage of family history.
My heart refuses to rest.
My body refuses to go.
Life has no rhythm
As technology increases pace to the speed of light.
My body becomes my ear,
But I hear no rhythm.
How can I reset my seasons?
How can I find the right rhythm for life?

Storm Dancer II: Sitting It Out

The wind whips up
As skies darken.

It’s not her storm,
She didn’t make it.

All goes black with clouds covering the sun,
Broken only by flash of light and explosion of sound.

Shaven and shorn so her hands do nothing for her head,
She knows she must dance the storm.

The air grows heavy.
Too much moisture waiting to break.

It’s not her storm.
She cannot find the rhythm of nature’s pattern.

The wind and darkness gain intensity,
Dazzling the senses into dysfunction.

She can’t find His Voice,
So she thinks she dances this storm alone.

Another thunder-clap breaks,
But the rain doesn’t come yet.

She sighs and closes her eyes,
Blocking interference to recall His Words.

The rain suddenly pelts down,
And still no rhythm comes.

She cannot dance this fight.
She knows she is to sit this one out.

Wind whips, thunder claps,
Lightning blazes, rain pelts.

She knows His Voice speaks peace.
He could stop the storm, but He stops her instead.

Darkness grows as the storm intensifies.
With eyes shut tight she sits and waits.

As suddenly as the storm came, it ends.
She just sits as the Son shines down.

A rainbow promises eventual perpetual victory–
Never in this life, always in the next.

Storm Dancer

The winds rise–
Not gentle breezes of slow change,
But blasts of immediately immolating metamorphosis.

She ties her hair back again in a bun,
Giving the icy persona of school marm turned librarian.

The skies grow darker–
Not the peace of a starry summer night,
But the sudden blinding black of brute force.

She slips off her shoes,
Testing joints misused and too ancient for her time.

Thunderclaps erupt–
Not a gentle rhythm of normalcy,
But the irregular cadence of a warcry out of time.

She slides into motion,
Closing her eyes even to the audience of One.

Air pressure fluctuates–
Lightning pierces the mahogany night,
As thunder and gusts intensify.

Her feet glide across the floor,
To an unknown, arrhythmic cadence.

Rain pelts the windows–
A sharp staccato beat
Turns arrhythmia into regularity.

She leaps, she twirls,
A slide here as arms wave fluidly there.

Drops hit faster and faster–
The regular staccato pounds the rhythm
That is the soundtrack to her fight.

Her wardance intensifies
To stomp out the hardships of life.

It ends abruptly–
The Son shines on more brightly
As puddles dry in the greener garden.

She collapses prostrate at His feet,
Sighing as her heart finds peace.

Easter Thoughts and a Whirling Dervish

It’s Easter, the day Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus who willingly gave Himself over to death. Although He had the power to call thousands of angels, He chose to submit to death so His perfect blood would atone for the sins of all.

Whether you agree with what Christians call sin, you have to admit that mankind has historically required rules and guidelines to permit orderly governance. When rules are broken, there need to be consequences, or there would be no point to rules.

In Christianity, sin is breaking Father God’s rules. He is so perfect and just that despite all the love He has for us, His perfection cannot let even one dram of sin, one little white lie, one little cuss word, stand in His presence. Hence, the concept of Hell.

To overcome the eternal death sentence, faith in the power of Christ’s death is all that is required. To believe that His grace is sufficient to cover sin is the only requirement to avoid Hell, and then in appreciation of His grace a sincere effort to follow the Word alone is an outpouring of this belief.

This great, fathomless, bottomless grace and love should bring most Christians to a great feeling of joy. The joy should be so great that the response to it should be more than an “Amen,” more than a “Praise the Lord! Love ya, Sister Jones.”

It should be an all-over, exuberant outpouring. A lot like King David had in 2 Samuel, chapter.

As usual, Israel lost the Ark of the Covenant through pride and disobedience. The Ark of the Covenant at that time was more than just a pretty jewelry box. It represented the place where the LORD God Almighty chose to put his mojo so that He could be with His people.

King David earlier in the book had recovered it and was preparing to bring it back to Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel. There was a mishap (the Ark started to fall, a man touched it in an unauthorized fashion, the LORD zapped him dead) so the Ark stalled out for a while on the threshing floor of Nashon in the care of Obed-Edom.

Over time, Nashon and Obed-Edom were getting so blessed that David decided after three months to try one more time to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. Jerusalem threw the biggest block party you could imagine, and King David felt such delight that the seat of the LORD’s presence was returning to his town and country that he started to dance.

Contrary to sensational rumors (and his wife Michal’s perception at the end of the chapter), he was not naked or half-naked. He was wearing a linen ephod. That was a piece of clothing worn by priests in those days. I guess the closest modern equivalent would be a tunic.

Back to the story… Most texts say he was dancing and leaping. This isn’t the waltz with a bunny hop thrown in. The Contemporary Jewish Bible actually describes it as “leaping and spinning.” This is a vigorous combination of step dancing and wild twirling, the ancient Israeli precursor for break dancing if you will.

In the presence of the LORD, David chose an exuberant, wild physical show of love and affection and joy for the LORD who loved him, saved him physically, and raised him to follow the call on his life (in this case, lead all Israel).

In light of all that Christ did on the Cross for eternal salvation and demolishing sin’s hold on us, how can we modern Christians deny our Lord any less than our own wild, exuberant love, adoration, and worship?

PS–You are free to see something else in this passage. To you I say, “I will play and become even more undignified for Father God.” Oh, and if you’re prone to contempt or criticism, you might want to pay attention to Michal at the end of the story. There are truly physical consequences for living in a state of criticism and contempt, even in modern times.

Stepping Stone and End Points

You dance to the music in your head,
And you reach a good place.
You don’t know anyone,
But that’s okay.

You all hear the music,
You all want the music.
You think it’s the best place.

The music begins…
And it’s just not right.
You have all the right attitudes,
You have all the right platitudes.
But it’s not right.

You leave,
Disappointed by the end of the journey.
Tears begin to fall
As silence roars and shouts the music down.

On your knees,
Sobs declare the brokenness, the emptiness, the aloneness.

As silence descends again, another tune rises from the sky.
It is your music, and it is different.

You dance off, grateful that you weren’t at the end.
What looked like an end crystallized, metamorphosed, reformed
Into a stepping stone to the next best place.

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!