This article gives practical guidance for introducing movement into congregational worship for the first time.
Since movement is a normal part of life it has to be a part of worship forever. However, highlighting or emphasizing actions is the purpose of dance. These articles describe sources and means for utilizing movement more fully in worship.
This article offers a rationale for incorporating dance in worship as well as guidance for understanding the purpose of various types of movement.
The church’s uneasiness about including dance in worship stems, in part, from the dualism that equates the body with evil and the spirit with good. Worship demands physical and spiritual involvement that can transcend this dualism.
Christian dance has persisted throughout the history of the church, despite many official decrees against it. Christian churches that have incorporated dance and other stylized gestures in worship have benefited from a profound way of expressing their praise and enacting the gospel message. Dance as worship is one manifestation of the Spirit’s ongoing activity in the church.
Although dance is not commanded in the New Testament as in the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament confirms its use and place in Christian worship.
Dance is a regular feature of Israel’s festive worship and is viewed as an act of obedience to the Lord, for his praise and glory.
Worship and liturgy not only involve the use of the fine arts but may themselves be understood as art forms within the broader category of dance and other movement arts. These arts contribute to the worshiper’s awareness of something “happening” in the corporate celebration of the people of God.
Biblical men and women experienced the Lord as a dynamic God known through his interaction with them in the course of history. It is fitting, therefore, that much of the symbolism of biblical worship consists of physical actions that direct people beyond themselves to spiritual realities.