"Take off your shoes. Wherever you are is holy ground." Lisha Epperson

“Take off your shoes. Wherever you are is holy ground.” Lisha Epperson

 DANCE AS WORSHIP

Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! Psalm 149:3

I don’t know who I am beyond the physical experience of being alive in my body through movement. Movement is my love language. It’s a euphoric experience of grace come down in a temple, longing to be filled. It’s how I break my alabaster box before the Lord to offer my “beautiful thing.” When I don’t dance, I suffer; everyone around me suffers. I know now: I’ll dance forever.

Eric Johnson of Bethel Church said recently, our “praise makes way for the king to come.” I don’t know a better way to do that than through movement.

When we use our bodies as instruments to express the beauty of God, that offering brings the gospel to life. It’s art. Dance is a basic, intrinsic, and natural way to bring glory to the God of creation with our bodies. Each gesture, step, and turn, an opportunity to meet God in euphoric liturgy.

 

BRING GLORY TO GOD THROUGH DANCE

Dance has been my healing, my redemptive expression, and holy sustenance. It is an offering to a holy God who wants the fullness of inhabiting my body. It is beautifully imperfect. Sometimes it’s grotesque and graceless; sometimes, awkward and clumsy. But when I’m seized by the power of His great affection, I’ve learned not to worry. I’m simply captivated by His radical, unbelievable love. I just dance.

It’s the way I spread my fingers on my mat or wrap my hands around a barre. It’s how I sink in to the soft bend of a plié and rise to reach him with lifted arms. It is breath and life—mind, body, and spirit connected. The created and creator realigned.

DANCE – AN OFFERING OF PRAISE

Movement is instinctual. It’s natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally. A thoughtless word or battle with self-image can stifle even the most gifted dancers. To the timid, I say throw graceful athleticism and perfection out the door. We’re going for intention. This is an offering. The goal is the gospel come to life in your limbs.

Take off your shoes. Wherever you are is holy ground.

Let your dance be desperate and relentless, a question or quiet prayer. Do it. Do it because your heart remembers how much you love it.

 

LORD, TEACH US TO DANCE

Lord, we present our bodies to you—the physical act of worship, as an offering of praise, is a gift. Help us to dance the freedom of your love, the freedom of your word. We welcome you into this space of holy adoration and ask that our movements glorify you. Teach us, Lord, teach us to dance. Amen.


Dance as a Physical Act of Worship by Lisha Epperson first published by The High Calling, July 18, 2015. Used with permission per: Theology of Work Project Online Materials by The High Calling are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Questions For Reflection

  1. Do you dance?
  2. Does your church celebrate dance as an act of worship?
  3. If not, what is your redemptive expression—the art that heals you?
Lisha Epperson

Lisha Epperson

 

Lisha serves as Pastoral Fellow at St. Peter’s Chelsea in New York, NY.

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