Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm Off To... Liturgical Dance?

Hi everyone! I am just now beginning several months of travel doing concerts and murals, all over the US and a bit in the UK! So, I'm back to the blog to keep you all updated on the cool things that happen, and the unfolding insights and joys that rock my world. Thanks for tuning in.

This morning at the Asilomar Bible Conference I saw a woman (the courageous and expressive Laura LaPoint) do some "liturgical dance". This is a form of worship I have been almost totally unaware of until now. And I have been noticing that the word "liturgical" made me feel like there was something clinical about it, that it wouldn’t be very expressive. But how wrong I was!

In fact, what I found was that I had tears in my eyes because the whole point of this dance was not to be pretty, or perfect, or graceful exactly, but rather, to worship God.Laura explained that the concept of liturgical dance is not about appearance, but rather about accepting all body types, all dance proficiencies, and giving people the opportunity to worship God in the language of dance.

Now, I am all about recognizing that there are lots of languages with which to worship and communicate. In the same way that sometimes body language is more honest than the spoken word, I can see and feel how dance could very well be used to express feelings and convictions that might not be so succinctly expressed in words.

While I watched Laura dance, I could really feel how humble it is, how transparent one must be, in order to get up in front of a congregation and honestly express ones prayer, using the language of movement. In a way, it felt like a challenge to the often heady, intellectual way we often talk about God.

As I considered the many benefits and corners of thought that having dance and movement as part of our sense of communicating with God I wondered this: We are so used to singing together, and that’s just a language – what if we ALL became used to dancing together in our worship? What would that require of us in terms of our willingness to reveal something about ourselves? I could feel almost viscerally how we would have to shed some self consciousnesses that we hold about our bodies.

I could also feel a voice coming up within me, a stiff, complaining voice, that this dance was not dignified. It wasn’t "smart". But really, that was what I was loving about the dance. Communicating with our bodies, in a way can invite us to communicate feeling, not so much intellect, and can enable us to communicate from parts of our being which are often overlooked or not invited to be part of the conversation.

Today I learned about liturgical dance. I think it's a good thing!

And now, for our second hymn, we will all dance together, feeling and sharing our love of God.