I Hope You Dance
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
This month we’ve been celebrating the power of song. In no way is song more inspirational to me than when it emerges into the embodiment of dance. Dance is often seen as a metaphor for life: for the willingness to step beyond yourself, to embrace the wonder about you, to move in harmony with the universe. Yet dance is an actual physical expression as well. As joy and celebration build within, they require an outlet. And so, our hands and feet begin to move, our bodies begin to sing and flow, releasing emotions from our hearts and culminating in dance. Even releasing the heavenlies deep within through our fingertips and toes.
Dance is a fundamental form of human expression. It can be found throughout history in nearly every culture. It can be found in the Old Testament as a form of celebration, praise, and worship. David danced before the Lord with all his might, and God was well pleased. Even Jesus spoke of his frustration with the generation around him by saying in Matthew 11, "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn.” Yet how often do we stifle this wondrous outlet?
Most churches today that incorporate contemporary choruses sing songs about dance.“Dance with me, oh lover of my soul.” "Dancers who dance upon injustice.” “We will dance on the streets that are golden.” “Dancing with my Father God in fields of grace.” The list goes on and on, but do we take it seriously, or do we stand still and sing the words, hampering our bodies from becoming living, breathing expressions of praise.
Romans 12:1 instructs, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." Of course this scripture has many applications, but I prefer to take it quite literally.
Dance may or may not be acceptable in your church’s culture. However, I urge you sisters, on your own, at home, in your prayer closet and throughout your life to offer up your bodies as living sacrifices of praise. Embrace and enjoy the wonder of dance. Take time to relate with God through this amazing form of expression today.
I have had the honor serving as a worship dance choreographer and director for fifteen years, and I have discovered that dance is at its core, a form of communication. It can be used in as many ways as words themselves: worship, praise, prayer, intercession, warfare, prophecy, evangelism, teaching, and yes, even fun and entertainment.
In closing, I would like to share one of my favorite dances I have ever choreographed to a song titled “I Hope You Dance.” This piece is special to me because it incorporates males and females from babies to grandmothers in a beautiful portrait of worship and joy. You can see me dancing in this piece, along with all three of my children, Christiana, Jonny and Adam, and my niece Ella. Professionals, we are not, but I hope you will draw much inspiration from the spirit of the piece.
So today please remember—I hope you dance.