Is Dancing biblical?

Posted: September 10, 2014 in Ma-Papel (Paperworks), Theology
Dancing can be traced as early when man began to learn how to communicate. In our PE class, we studied that people would dance as a form of social function, as preparation for warfare, telling a story, describing their work or life, or summarizing it as a way to express what they felt for a particular situation. Dancing can also be traced to a religious form of worship when people dance to ask their god to end the drought, send the rain, thank for a bountiful harvest or praying that the season would be in their favor.

In the Bible, there are examples of men and women of faith who danced before the Lord. The Exodus from Egypt had Miriam, the sister of Moses, dancing right after they were rescued from the Egyptians who were chasing them (Ex. 15:26). In the time of judges, the daughter of Jepthah danced when the Israelites won the battle but then this turned out to be a sorrowful turn of event for the judge of Israel (Judges 11:24). We find David dancing without restraint (and undignified!) and his own wife did not approve of such an act but he did not mind because it was an act of worship before God (1 Chron. 15:29). The wisest man on earth also mentioned that there is a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4). Even the psalmist talks about dancing as a form of worship (Psalm 149:3, 150:4). We find in the New Testament the story of the elder brother in the prodigal son, he came home into a house filled with feasting and dancing (Luke 15:25). We find that the Bible speak of women and men dancing in celebration, and dancing is a form of worship and designed to to be joyful.

In our country, we have ethnic dances which helps us create an awareness of our culture. This is similar with other countries who have their own story to tell when they perform their dances. However, dances then were not similar to today’s dances. We see a lot of differences in terms of handling the opposite sex, and in terms of movements. Dances today have sexual connotations or seductive movements and are more of showing how good a person is or how graceful a dancer is. It is no longer about telling a story about life, or about God. Many movements are also linked to gyrating, close body contact, or arousing sexual feelings.

My philosophy then when it comes to dancing is primarily the dance must speak about the God I am serving. The movements or actions tell a story that whether im at work or at home, I can speak about God even in the unnoticed movements. The glory belongs to God and not to me. Secondarily, the dance must be an act of worship and not a performance towards man. The dance gives honor to God. Lastly, the dance should point those who are watching towards God and that they may also be able to participate and join in worshipping the God that we serve. It is very easy to steal the glory and it is easy to claim that we are doing things for God but at the end of the day, the Lord knows our hearts and motives. May we learn to dance in giving honor to His name! 

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