I did a Google search just out of curiosity to see how many songs had the word "dance" in them. Some of the songs listed were: Dance fever, Dance Inferno, Let's Dance, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, I'm Never Gonna Dance Again, Dance The Night Away, just to name a few.
Dance is mentioned on many occasions in Scripture. The first appearance of God’s people dancing as an act of worship is found in Exodus 15:20: “Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing.” This joyful dance to the Lord, led by Miriam, followed Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea and celebrated Israel’s newfound freedom from slavery.
However, dancing is not always presented in a positive light in the Bible. Soon after Miriam’s dance of praise, the Israelites were found dancing before a golden calf in worship. “When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain” (Exodus 32:19). On this occasion dancing was part of a wicked, idolatrous carousal. Thus, dancing is a mode of expression that can be used for good or for evil.
Other instances of dancing in the Bible Include 2 Samuel 6:16, which has David “leaping and dancing before the LORD.” Also, the Amalekites danced in celebration after plundering Judah and Philistia (1 Samuel 30:16); theirs was a short-lived dance, however, as David and his men soon defeated them (verses 17-20).
The Psalms offer a unique look at dance as an act of worship. In Psalm 30:11, the psalmist says, “You turned my wailing into dancing.” Psalm 149:3 encourages the use of dancing to worship God: “Let them praise his name with dancing!” Likewise, Psalm 150:4 urges, “Praise him with tambourine and dancing!” just like Miriam.
Some have argued that dance is an Old Testament form of expression. Since dance is not mentioned as a method of worship in the New Testament, Christians should not worship in this manner. However, this is an argument from silence and is not based on clear biblical teaching. Most early Christians were Jewish and likely would have incorporated Jewish forms of worship in their praise to the risen Messiah.
Another concern has been the association of dance with sinful activities. The idea is that, if dance is used in worship, it could be seen as approving dance in other situations that do not honor God. However, this is not necessarily the case. The Amalekites’ dancing in 1 Samuel did not prevent David from dancing in 2 Samuel. Christians can and should utilize dance as they do any other art form such as music, painting, drama, or filmmaking. As long as dance is worshipful, God-focused, and praiseworthy, it can have a proper place in worship. Worship dance is a far cry from the seductive dance of the daughter of Herodias (Mark 6:17-28).
Finally, it is important to understand that dance in the context of worship is not simply self-expression. It should be done in a way that is helpful to the entire congregation. Paul noted that “everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” in the church (1 Corinthians 14:40). “Everything” would include the use of dance in worship. Anything during a worship gathering that distracts from a focus on Christ should be left out. Each congregation bears the responsibility to structure its worship service in a way that honors God and encourages those within their group.
Dance is used as an act of worship in Scripture and can continue to be used in that way today. However, churches should take care to avoid dance that leads others to temptation or sin, and the focus must remain on worshiping God rather than drawing attention to self. When practiced in this way, dance is a beautiful art form that can communicate truth, bringing glory to God and edifying others.
On October 28, 2010 at Metropolitan new Testament Baptist Chruch , in Albany New York, My daughter, Danielle Ford-Geter, age 29 lay dead in her casket. That day was so saurreal to me, I only have visions, and vague memories of it to this day. Danielle sung in one of the choirs at her church. the choir on duty at her funeral was the choir she sang with. I remember telling one of the members of the choir before the service started, to make sure that they chose some uplifting music. I did not want to hear slow solemn mournful songs. I know that Danielle had the Spirit of Christ living in her and she would not have liked a boring, dead service. The young lady assured me that they had picked out some music that Danie particularly would have loved..
She was right! One of the songs sung was entitled: "Hallelujah We Praise You." When the choir began singing, something hit my spirit and I got our of my seat and began to worship, praise and dance right in front of the casket. I got my praise on, as they say in church. I began to exhort, praise and magnify the Lord for His goodness, for His kindness, for allowing my to be the mother of such an awesome young woman. To my joy and expectation, there were others that joined me in praise, dance and worship. To God be the glory!
After the funeral, and some time after Danielle's death, there are still people who comment or tell me they had never seen a mother react, dance, or celebrate their child's transition, at a funeral service, in the way that I did. I clearly say even unto this day, "I could only have done that through the power of the Living God down on the inside of me. It was all God and none of me! It takes faith, courage, and love for God, to know that even through our darkest hours, He will be with you. And I had that assurance, not based on how good I believed I was, not based on how much I prayer, not based on how long I had been in the church, not based on any type of performance; but based on the personhood of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave and gives me His grace to do the impossible.
Today, I can say without wavering that God has turned my mourning into dancing; I have taken off my funeral clothes and exchanged them for a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. He has given me three grandchildren, each of them girls, one I haven't yet laid eyes upon. These angels are the jewels in my crown. They are my joy, my hope, and my legacy. There is no way I can keep silent. I am not saying that these girls can ever replace my Danielle! No, But I am saying that God has a way that is mighty sweet. He gives you beauty for ashes. the oil of joy for mourning. My little granddaughters are so precious to me and I love them to the moon and back.
All the glory goes to the Lord! God doesn't promise us that we would always have sunny days. Into each life, a little rain must fall. If it were not so, we would never experience the beautiful rainbows He has set in the sky, as a reminder that He has promised to keep covenant with us. He, not people, has promised never to leave us or forsake us. As I look forward to holding another grandchild in my arms, smelling the sweet fragrance of new life, I am reminded that there is not any thing created that can keep me from praising, dancing, worshiping, and celebrating the goodness of the Lord. Keep the faith, trust God, and watch God changes things.
To God be the glory: "Don't forget to say your prayers!"