The girl on the right... is my wife Kristina at a "Worship Rave" that Freedom House hosted a couple of years back. 15 years ago, Lee Ann Womak wrote a lovely little country ditty that included this wish for others freedom,
"When you get the choice to sit it out or dance.... I hope you dance"
Krissy took it to heart and started cutting loose in the areas of life she'd always wished she could cut loose in. The truth is that, in many ways, she left me sitting on the sidelines while she dove into new areas of life that we'd both rejected for many years. And I love her for it. My wife is a strong, bold, free, passionate, warrior-princess of the Kingdom of God. But she didn't get there by just sitting back and watching others be free.
I'm not "dancey." But do you know what? It doesn't matter much how I self-identify myself when it comes to worship. Psalm 149:3 says,
"Let them praise his name with dancing"
The book of Samuel says this about David, the King of God's people, who has become known throughout modern history for his genuine worship:
"David danced before the Lord with all his might"
The truth is that when it comes to God... it's our job to learn what he digs on; and do that. And God loves freedom nearly as our flesh loves to self-identify and "sit it out." I'm a thinker. And for a lot of years I couldn't find a good rationale to dance in my worship.
There used to be a song that we'd sing at church that offended me. More on a literary basis than anything. It was called, "Jesus we celebrate your victory." There were the much-maligned "worship actions" that went along with this song in my church. People would actually REVOLVE when they sang the word REVEL. I was offended. "Revolving is NOT reveling. That is a TOTALLY different thing!" I'd object and stand still, arms crossed, in my own rightness while others whooped it up in lingual ignorance. The truth is that God couldn't have cased less about my cause. He just loved the reveling in his victory!
In 2 Samuel, the lauded prophet says this:
"I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes."
Undignified is a tough word. "Appearing foolish and unseemly" is what it means. That's what the Man of God says that he will become... even more than he already is!
Eventually I've come to realize what most in the world has already come to realize. Dance is freeing and liberating. I spent my day today digging through old video footage from fifteen years ago when my wife and I were young missionaries in Ghana. This clip is from a conference in the city of Sunyani and is at the end of TWO HOURS of what might sound like technically-unproficient worship. But it was one tribe after another bringing traditional songs and dances for us all to join in on.... as onto Jesus. This clip ends with a young, awkward, me dancing a totally uncomfortable dance in a very foreign context... and changing my arrogant mind about what "dance" was all about forever.
We can be very content where we are in life and our worship. But my question to you tonight is... Do you want to go deeper? When you get the choice to sit it out or dance.... I hope you dance!