MY RESPONSE TO GOD'S RESPONSE
by Paulette Winter
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MY RESPONSE TO GODíS RESPONSE
Worship dance is as much a part of me as breathing. I cannot imagine myself not being able to express myself to God in this manner. It is, after all, in Him that I move and breathe and have my being.
It is my response to Godís response to me when He forgave and cleansed me of my sins. It is my heart saying ďThank You, Father,Ē through the movements of a body liberated to speak the language of joy.
Dance originated with my heavenly Father communing His love through His Spirit into my spirit. The reaction of my heart is expressed through dance in worship and adoration and thanksgiving.
A lovely paraphrase of Zephaniah 3:17 says, ďThe eternal self-existent God, the God who is Three in One, He who dwells in the center of your being is a powerful and valiant warrior. He has come o set you free, to keep you safe and bring you victory. He is cheered and He beams with exceeding joy and takes pleasure in your presence. He has engraved a place for Himself in you and there He quietly rests in His love and affection for you. He cannot contain Himself at the thought of you and with the greatest joy spins around wildly in anticipation over you Ö and has placed you above all other creations and in the highest place in His priorities. In fact, He shouts and sings in triumph joyfully proclaiming the gladness of His heart in a song of rejoicing! All because of you!Ē -- Dennis Jernigan
If God dances with such joy over us, how much more should we dance with joy since He is right here in our midst?
The word ďdanceĒ and the word ďrejoiceĒ come from the same Aramaic word. Aramaic was the language spoken in Israel during the time of Jesus.
Dance is not just an art form -- it is a form of worship, a communication. We were born to dance. It is innate within us. Just look at babies. Youíve all seen how they bounce and wave their little arms whenever music is playing. They donít have to be taught. Itís a natural instinct. They dance before they ever learn to walk.
Liturgical dance is not a performance. Itís an act of worship, a form of prayer or praise or thanksgiving through movement.
For centuries, dance fell out of favor in the church. It was seen as pagan, vulgar, secular, trivial. Now, it is becoming more and more popular, especially in mainline churches. But it is nothing new.
People of faith have always danced for God. Miriam danced. David danced. Judith danced. The psalmists danced. According to Luke 15:25, there is dancing in the Fatherís house. And, according to the above-mentioned scripture, God dances over us.
The Psalms are songs written by David where he instructs us to dance before the Lord. See Psalm 149:3 and 150:4. In Psalm 30:2, David tells how God turned his mourning into dancing. Sins he had committed caused him great distress and grief for sin separates us from God He repented and once again had fellowship with God. Godís forgiveness caused him to dance.
God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). When we praise Him, we usher in his Presence.
Romanís 12:1 says, ďTherefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of Godís mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God --- This is your spiritual act of worship.Ē (NIV)
In offering our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him, we sing, dance, shout, raise our hands, leap and spin, all of which would be quite difficult without our physical bodies.
Not everyone has to dance. Worship comes from your heart. God sees into your heart and itís your motives that count. Donít condemn those who dance and donít condemn those who donít. If your heart is right and pure and He has forgiven you of all your sins, your worship will be beautiful to Him in whatever way you wish to express it.
Dance expresses happiness that is too great to be spoken. It gives the Lord joy to behold us showing forth our praise in dance. At His right hand there are pleasures forevermore. The Lord delights in our right response to these pleasures. How will the world see that there is joy in our relationship with the Lord if they never see us expressing it?
One of His commands is that we rejoice (Philippians 4:4). He doesnít simply command us to rejoice. He even provides the joy!
Our bodies are a reflection of what is happening on the inside. Dance has effects on the body just like physical exercise. It causes the blood to circulate, activates thinking, quickens the heartbeat. You feel alive and vibrant. The Lord knew this and wants this for His church, not a sluggish, sleeping church, but one alive and flowing.
It is now time to worship with all of our hearts, minds and bodies!
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