May 24, 2007

The Old Girl Dances

Confession time again! I'm 51, and I'm a dancer.

I didn't grow out of it.

In the early days if my high school years I discovered the Jesus Movement of the '70's - and was amazed that God would enjoy the rock 'n roll beat from the young worshipers. What a refreshing sound!

I remember looking up to the ceiling during worship sometimes, and asking Him, “Is this okay?” Another look in the book of Psalms, and I’d have to say, “YES!”

I haven’t stopped appreciating the old hymns. In fact, my appreciation for every genre of music is unequalled by most everyone I’ve talked to about it. I can hoe-down with the Cowboy Church. I can stand appreciatively with chants from the 1600’s. I can clap on the “wrong” beat with the best of them. And I can put on my old 2nd Chapter of Acts album, just like I did in 1972, and dance to the “Easter Song” with all my heart. I can only think of one kind of music that’s hard for me to connect to, and that’s the screaming stuff. But that’s okay, I guess. I can’t do everything!

Moving my body to the music makes every cell of my being “smile”. I love being with our friends from Harlem, New York. Now there’s some movement that I’m just not capable of duplicating. It hurts my back! ...and my knees! But I love it nonetheless.

I will worship until there is little thought of “self“.

What’s interesting about this to me, is that dancing has been stolen from the Christian lifestyle for so long! My Grandma K. used to testify that when she was first “saved”, she left the dance hall for good. It was a serious thing to her, but that’s something different from what I’m talkin’ about, isn’t it.

I think any culture can watch a dancer and agree as to the motives of the heart of dancer. Watch her eyes, her face. We can all tell if there is self emphasis there. Is she moving to get attention? Or is she expressing something so deep that mere words don’t fulfill it? We can tell if he is just “performing” for the applause, or if he really wants to give something to the Lord.

Maybe there’s just an expression of joy that needs to be exhibited. What’s wrong with that?

Because of my stiffness and pain, I have to move. If I’m still too long, things tense up and hurt. It’s probably related to stress, and movement relieves it. And to me, if I really believe what I’m singing, it’s usually accompanied by movement. My African friend was extremely puzzled by our American worship. The song would say, “I bow down...”, and everyone would remain standing. It just didn’t make sense to say one thing, and do another.

If I look silly or uncoordinated, that’s okay. Does a little child worry about how her expression looks to others? Doesn’t He want us to become like that again?

Okay, let’s define what dance is. Does it really mean that my actions must look acceptable to others, or learned? Does it mean that there even must be music? Now that’s a good one.

Isn’t worship sometimes just a nod of the head in response to the beauty of the sunrise? Or when I hear in my heart that God loves me, to gasp “wow?”

Well, forget all the reasons. I just do it. The song is in my heart, and the beat is in my bones. Often it’s a declaration that I mean business... it really is an exhibition of my response to my God. Whether I’m hurting inside or jubilantly thankful - “I feel His pleasure” when I dance for Him.

I respond to Him with the thoughts in my head, with the words from my mouth, with the purity of my heart, with the movement of my feet, with the works of my hands - with all my being. Now, that’s fulfilling!

So, right now, as I type this, my music is on loud, and I’m taking breaks to go “move” in my family room. This is especially fun when I’m in the house alone with the Lord. When there’s people here, I put on my Mp3 player and go into my own little world, close the door and move.

Here I am, an old girl, still dancing like a kid.

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