There are many instances in our culture in which it is acceptable to dance.
An organized dance function, (Baptists, cover your ears, or eyes in this instance) a concert, where one might even bounce around, scream, and do a little mosh-pit business, any kind of sporting event, in which your team does something exciting. I've seen my husband bust some moves during the Aggie football season. There was probably a good bit of dancing and screaming when they beat UT this year. A wedding celebration, New Year's celebrations, and so on.
There are plenty of things that get us excited, and cause us to want to move our bodies because of it.
Church is not usually one of them.
No, in church, sometimes we act like we're at a funeral. Having sung on the stage during worship at many churches, people truly looked like someone had died. Like they'd rather be anywhere than in worship. Some can't even be bothered to open their mouths to sing, or stand up. It has always made me sad.
Our church has such amazing worship. I love that people come, and sing outloud praises to God, kneel at the altar when they feel the need, even raise their hands in adoration of the Lord. That might seem a little weird to some. I don't know. But when you are so moved by worshipping the Lord, you feel the need to respond, and I'm so encouraged by being in a church where people do.
However, there's usually not much dancing. Sometimes, we get to moving a bit...while in place... careful not to move our feet too much...containing ourselves, of course.
Why do we "contain ourselves" so?
We would not wish to be undignified, right? We don't want to seem strange to others. Besides, dancing would push our church into a whole other weirdo category, that is NOT widely acceptable.
Well, Saturday night's Easter Service at Living Hope was one of the best worship experience for Rusty and I! Wow! What freedom! What a spirit of gratefulness to the Father for sacrificing His Son, FOR US! Gratefulness to Jesus for paying the price for OUR sins, when He knew what was coming, and He knew how painful it would be. We watched clips from "The Passion of Christ" and having to visually appreciate what Christ did was moving. We celebrated what God has done for us! We celebrated that we serve a RISEN Savior! And it was good.
I was most moved by a member of our church, who I am not looking to embarrass by any means, but his actions spoke to me. I don't know him very well, but he is a young professional, super-nice guy, rather poised, maybe reserved, soft-spoken kind of guy. He came to the altar to pray during our celebration time, and suddenly started to dance. I mean DANCE, and BOUNCE. Praising and worshipping with his whole body. It was so beautiful. It was just like I've always wanted to, on the inside, but never have...dancing before the Lord. He shouted and praised with complete abandon, and a pure heart.
There is a passage of scripture that was immediately brought to mind...when David danced before the Lord in 2 Samuel 6. The Ark of the Covenant was being brought back to Jerusalem. There was much rejoicing! It says in verse 14
"And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly tunic. So David and all Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with much shouting and blowing of trumpets."
His wife, Michal, looked out of her window and saw David going nuts in celebration to the Lord. It says she was filled with contempt for him. She later chastised him, ridiculing him for acting a fool right in front of the servant girls. In verse 21, he answers her:
"David retorted to Michal, "I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord. So I am willing to act like a fool in order to show my joy in the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, but I will be held in honor of the girls you have spoken!" So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her life."
What an example for us! He was the king, and he was willing to abandon his dignified persona to "show his joy in the Lord." Easter is definitely a time worthy of such a celebration. Everyday we live as the redeemed from our sin is, actually. I have often thought of the songs we sing, declaring we will dance and shout before the Lord, taken straight from the Psalms, and yet we do not dance, and we do not shout.
Are we unwilling, like Michal, to look undignified, or to appear foolish?
She was severely punished for this, by the way.
I was so blessed by this on Saturday night, and encouraged by the worship of others. I was singing on the Praise Team, so I was privy to the worship of everyone there, and it was beautiful. Thank you, Church, for encouraging me. That is just one reason why corporate worship is so essential to our faith.