Tuesday 14 June 2011

Rejoicing in dance

You dance over me
When I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound
[Amazed - Lincoln Brewster]

The nearest Bible reference I can get to the source of this song is this:
Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
Well, not all songs have a specific verse tied to it, though some songs are directly lifted from Biblical passages... but if there is one verse that seems to be tied to this song, it's this one. 

How does it fit, you may ask? The only thing that seems to be similar is the reference that God sings over us! Not exactly. Maybe it boils down to your individual perception of rejoicing, but I would definitively say that rejoicing over you with joy (quite a bit of emphasis on the joy part, no?) might have something to do with dancing. Because only happy people dance. Only free people dance.

And yet every time (almost) you bring up dancing, it seems to be only a presentation, only something for the people to see. It doesn't come up as a dance before the Lord, as a holy consecration of our bodies to Him. But it should be.

Probably way back when in my naturally suspicious and anti-super-spiritualistic heart (I'm still somewhat there) I was very skeptical about these dancing pastors who see angels behind every dance. But I think I've come to a realisation that there is a power in dance. There is a release. There is something deeper to it than merely movement for movement's sake, or just presentation. There is an ushering in of God's presence in the lifting of the banners, the waving of the flags, the pounding of the tambourines, the grace of the limbs.

I don't know if there are angels behind every dance. I probably don't think so. But that's not really the point.

If you talk about presenting yourself as a living sacrifice to God, then offering your body in the dance is part of it. You can't offer all of yourself without including your movement. That would be like telling God that he can only have your brain and your mind and the thoughts and the stuff you do with it... but no, you can't make me move. You can't possibly be interested in that because it's so... carnal.

But what is carnal?

What are you without your body? Without your bones and the flesh and muscles that covers it? Isn't sex carnal? Yet without it, you wouldn't have children and wouldn't be able to fulfil the command to be fruitful and multiply.

David danced before the Lord.

Maybe I have a strange kind of thinking about worship. I wouldn't know. I have strange kinds of thoughts all the time. But it's like a music that plays itself; unheard, most of the time. All we do is step into tune, taking what is already there, picking it up in our words and our music and yes, in our dance. And like a huge orchestra, if anything is missing, you feel it. It feels like there is something lacking, something not yet achieved.

One of the missing chunks right now is the whole area of dance. Maybe even the whole area of anything related to art or creative arts. Like paintings. And pictures. And sketches. And stories. And movies. And music. And dance, always dance.

I'm not really a dancer (or so I think) but somehow it always gets back to dance. Because whilst a movie or a sketch or drama or story tells things about God, tells all kinds of things about anything, really, it's often put on, contrived, made up, created. It's a representation.
Dance seems to be a more primal instinct, coming from the depths of the soul. It's not quite a representation. It is a being. A release. And twined with it, the music of heaven.