How to dance in church
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Dancing in Church | Reformed Church in America
How one church’s worship has been enriched by a sacred dance camp.
By Joanna Rodriguez
Every August, for the past three years, children gather at a little church near Lake Ontario in Rochester, New York. They shed their shoes by the door and tentatively find a place to sit in the circle. They might be shy at first, but as they bend, stretch, turn, and jump, their bodies and spirits warm up. (It’s easy to “warm up” in a non-air-conditioned fellowship hall in August!) By the end of the morning, they are worshiping God with their whole selves through the art of dance.
We call it Sacred Dance Camp. It’s a free three-day summer camp at Lakeview Community Church (RCA) that I lead with help from hardworking church members who serve snacks, plan and lead crafts, put band-aids on owies, refill water bottles, and do whatever else is needed to help things run smoothly.
Before my husband, Steven, became the pastor of Lakeview nearly three years ago, this church had never experienced sacred dance. So how did we get here?
Though I’ve danced all my life, it was during my time at Hope College that I really learned how to offer my gift of dance to God and to the church. Through the Sacred Dance ministry there, I discovered how beautiful it can be to worship God with your whole self—body, mind, and spirit—through the art of dance. It’s an act of worship for the dancer, but it also helps the congregation worship: as the dancer moves, the hearts of the people watching are lifted up in worship, too. Though their bodies may not be moving, they are able to more fully worship the living God by watching someone else dance.
Dance in worship isn’t limited to performing a choreographed dance to a worship song; dancers can improvise movement to a song, dance the baptismal bowl down the aisle during the prelude, or dance to a Scripture reading. It will look like different things depending on the worship style of each particular church, the shape of the sanctuary, and the season of the church year.
Here at Sacred Dance Camp, the other leaders and I hope that the children will grow in their relationship with the triune God and know that they are loved, beautiful, and an integral part of the body of Christ. For the children whose families are part of another local church, we pray that they can bring their newfound passion for sacred dance to their home churches, enriching the worship there. For the children whose families do not have a church home, we pray that this camp inspires them to find a place to worship, fellowship, and grow in their faith, whether that is Lakeview or elsewhere. We also hope that Sacred Dance Camp will bless our own congregation by bringing new life, inspiring us to more authentic worship, and giving us an opportunity to be hospitable to our community.
On the Sunday following camp, the children who attended join us for our morning worship service, where we put into practice what we’ve learned throughout the week. We dance to praise songs and hymns, verses of Scripture and prayers. We dance choreographed dances and improvised dances. We help our people worship as we worship through dance. Every year, people confess to being moved to tears by the beauty of these children offering themselves in worship to the living God. Isn’t that a beautiful picture of communal worship? When we offer ourselves fully to God in authentic, passionate worship, the people we worship with are drawn closer to God, too. And together, as we lift our hearts in praise, cry out to God in lament, or reach out to God in longing, we bring glory to God. This God created us with bodies that, though tarnished by sin, disease, addiction, or age, are beautiful in his sight.
The first year we held dance camp, eight kids came. The second year we had 22. This year, we had to expand to two camps to accommodate more kids, and even then we ran out of space! I’m listening for God’s guidance about how we can continue to grow this ministry as demand increases, including expanding beyond summer camp. Maybe God is calling us to put on workshops throughout the year, or develop a local ecumenical dance ministry, or teach everyday adult churchgoers to move their bodies in worship. My ears are open, and I’m ready to follow God’s lead.
Joanna Rodriguez is a member of Lakeview Community Church (RCA) in Rochester, New York.
Can Christians dance? - ''Word of Grace'' Bible Church
Recently, churches have appeared in different cities, in which dances are practiced during divine services. They say that somewhere in the Psalter it is written that you need to glorify God in dances. Is there anything bad in this? And if not, why is dancing still rare in churches?
In recent years, indeed, some churches of the charismatic order allow and encourage the worship of God, expressed in dance. The basis for this is most often found in Ps. 149:3 and 150:4 where it says "praise Him with bounty." The Hebrew word translated "with faces" in the Russian Bible really means "with dancing. " Along with this, it is well known that for almost nineteen centuries, none of the leading Christian churches practiced dancing during worship. Ritual dances were part of worship only in paganism, and in some radical pseudo-Christian sects. Did historical churches have reason to abandon the practice of dancing in worship, or was it simply a sign of their lack of spiritual development?
In order to answer this question, it is necessary to look at what David meant by calling to glorify God with dancing. A simple study of the use of the word in the Old Testament shows that dancing was indeed part of the life of the Jews of Biblical times. However, all texts that talk about dances in the Old Testament only talk about them in a social context (for example, the books of Kings describe dancing with special rejoicing of the people after the victory over Goliath, 1 Samuel 18:7, and also at the return of the ark from Philistines, 2 Kings 6:15-16).
The Bible does not give a single instance where the children of God danced to worship God in the temple. The only case of the similarity of the religious dances of the Israelites is described at the moment of their worship of the golden calf, which they made, departing from God (Ex. 32:1-6). In addition, the Old Testament gives a detailed description of the order of worship, prescribing in detail what should be done in the tabernacle and in the temple. Here again, dancing is not mentioned at all. The New Testament also never speaks of dancing in the context of worship. Describing the divine services of the first church, Luke says that the believers were: "In the teaching of the apostles, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayer" (Acts 2:42), again, not a word is said about dancing.
The above facts allow us to believe that when calling to glorify God with dances in Psalms 149 and 150, David had in mind the social, and not the liturgical context of the life of his people. In other words, David was urging the Israelites to praise God always and everywhere, even when they were relaxing and having fun socially. The New Testament also speaks of this. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossians writes, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father through him" (Col. 3:17).
Thus, we can firmly say that the Bible does not allow dancing in worship. Churches that practice this have no Scriptural basis for it. The practice of ritual dancing came to modern Christian churches of the charismatic persuasion not from the Bible, but from their tendency towards an ecstatic form of worship, in which a person is completely immersed in the control of emotions, while losing the ability to intelligently control himself. Recently, a letter was posted on one of the websites from a person who experienced "dancing in the spirit" and spoke positively about this experience.
"... When an American woman, a dance attendant in their team, said to us: "And now we will all dance in the Spirit!" - I thought to myself: "I wonder how you can make so many people dance at the same time, yes And in a moment, I was overwhelmed by a wave of such childishness. In this childishness, all these unnecessary complexes broke down, like: where can I dance! Am I a teenager? What will people think! Etc. People, finally, became themselves and ceased to impress each other by dancing sincerely! One danced clumsily like a bear, the other waved his arms like a sword, the third (Jew by nationality) just walked and blew his horn, the fourth jumped something there, and all this it was cool, and no one made fun of each other, or rather they laughed, even laughed, but it was a different, kind laugh! I saw that all the people (and there were 600-700 people in the hall, all from different churches, denominations, of course, nationalities and ages) suddenly, as it were, turns turned into little children..."
This description is a prime example of the ecstatic madness that stands out here as a special form of being filled with the Holy Spirit. As mentioned above, the Holy Scriptures nowhere teach about liturgical dances, this practice came from the pagan experience of ecstatic spirit worship.
Can Christians dance in a social context, i.e., outside of worship (social dancing)? Every nation has its own cultural traditions. For the Jews, circle dances and folk dances were an integral and natural part of their culture. Modern Russian and Western culture differ significantly from the Jewish culture of Biblical times. Social dancing today has a very different association, which makes it very problematic for Christians.
The first problem with social dances is that most often they have a pronounced aspect of lust, concentrating on body eroticism, touch, etc. Such ways of expressing joy are clearly in dangerous territory outlined by Christ in the warning "anyone who looks at a woman with lust, has already committed adultery in his heart" (Mt 5:28).
The second problem is that social dancing is most often associated with recklessness, wasting time and seeking thrills. In addition, as already mentioned, their association with the pagan practice of ecstatic spirit worship makes the use of dances undesirable for Christians in general. In addition to the possible negative impact of dancing on the Christian himself, such a practice can be dangerous for the spiritually weak believers around him. The apostle Paul specifically warned about this, “It is better not to eat meat, or drink wine, or [do] anything [that] causes your brother to stumble, or be offended, or faint” (Rom. 14:21).
May your worship be joyful and reverent, and may your social joy be pure and glorifying God.
allowed to dance in church? Questioneris it allowed to dance in the church? — Questioner
I don't even know... you still need to sing what you need
only on the pulpit and in iridescent balaclavas
or not? for this, like 2 years they give
in churches you can . ... in the temple is not worth
Only slowly waltz to the tunes of the choir. (see Performances from XXC)
only if you pay, and you can sing songs like Rasputin pawed an Orthodox saint in the XXC itself, the main thing is to pay according to the price list.
Don't dance in the cemetery!
In the Baptist, probablyAlena
Watch the movie The Blues Brothers. There, the blacks in the churches light up cool. It's a pity we don't have this
Ask Pussy Wright
Pussy Riot members only
church church strife.
it is impossible because they have never practiced dancing or it is their poor spiritual development of society
If you want to dance - sign up for a dance ensemble - they will show you a place for dancing
why are you constantly drawn to do something in places not intended for this purpose - so in
entrances and elevators you shit and piss ...
Church letters. means "Assembly" that is, a gathering of people to worship God.
therefore, it would be appropriate to dance there if it included
to worship. However, according to the Bible,
Bible study, encouragement to each other, and singing of songs glorifying the Creator should take place at the meeting.