Arise, my darling.
Come away, my beautiful one.
For now the winter is past;
the rain has ended and gone away.
The blossoms appear in the countryside.
The time of singing has come,
and the turtledove’s cooing is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs;
the blossoming vines give off their fragrance.
Arise, my darling.
Come away, my beautiful one.
What would that mean? I think that when we dance, we have stopped being passive and instead activated. Dancing is moving.
When I am moving, I can be guided or ‘course corrected’. The motion of dancing gives me the ability to be guided. ‘Come dancing’ is similar to, ‘let’s take a walk”, ‘get up and go’, ‘now, run’.
If someone invites you to dance, they are asking you to join the dance, with them or with others. The invitation implies the plurality of dancing. People dance solo or privately all the time, but that is not what this is about.
In God’s story, shared in the Bible, His people are His wife and His bride. God has always been like a husband who loves and shares with his bride. This includes going away with God and letting God love us.
God would naturally say to us, ‘let me share with you’, ‘let us eat together’, and ‘come dance with me’.
The life that God has always wanted for His people is a close relationship, like in the old hymn, “He lives”, where it has the words, “He walks with me and talks with me”. Our God is a relational person who walks with us and talks with us.
That is the backdrop of God saying, “Come dancing”. And “Come dancing” is different than “Let’s dance”. God is perhaps saying that there is a dance already in progress, and He is inviting us to join in.
Did you know that the Bible views dancing as wholesome and is commended?
From just listening to this one man, I never knew that there was legitimate, wholesome God-endorsed dancing, in the Bible. Later, I did discover dancing in the Bible, and I thought that while we read of Jewish people dancing, from time to time, that it must just be cultural; because I never saw dancing in church or in any Christian context.
The NT teaches that the people are the church and the the gathering of the church is not about buildings, small or large, nor is it about service or liturgy. The gathering is about people gathering in Jesus name, for Jesus mission and cause, in his love that we express towards other followers of Jesus, who have also left everything behind for him, to invite people who do not know him to also follow him.
On the other hand, churches, like synagogues, do have liturgies; ‘things we do when we gather’.
Liturgy equals ‘what we do’. “What’s your liturgy, man?”
An easy example of liturgy or what we say makes a (real) church service, is singing. It is hard to recall a church meeting without singing.
Many people, by far the majority in my experience, equate church with singing. We also equate ‘church’ as being something we go to. But the NT teaches that the church is something we are.
Today, many people think that church is something you go to, to sing.
But, singing is neither what defines or makes a church. Singing is a liturgical thing we like to do. And it feels good too.
Same thing with sanctified dancing. But some Christians who love to sing, don’t see dancing as appropriate. Yet, they are both things people like to do to both celebrate and worship.
If church is not a building or services, then what is church? Church is intimate fellowship with Jesus and each other, around Jesus. The communion with Him and his people involves sharing. Sharing stories, sharing food, sharing life and sharing our stuff and money.
Church life may include dancing, but it is not part of the liturgy or service, because the duty, liturgy or service of the church that marks or defines the church is loving one another from Jesus love.
The only liturgy or service direction that we were given is to love one another and serve one another and to go out and tell others about Jesus.
Dancing has a place in church life, when if is spontaneous or celebratory. The people danced in Jesus story of the two sons and their father, in Luke chapter 15.
And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
If Jesus had dancing in a story he made up, that was an expression of celebration and spontaneous jubilation; we can take that as an example of when dancing is a good thing.
In Bible times and today, there has been pagan, cultic and erotic dancing that is not the kind of dancing that believers take part in. When we suggest that believers can dance in life, or in church, some of us are chagrined, because we think of dancing as worldly. But the job of the god of the world has always been to corrupt and twist what started off as wholesome. And redemption means to take those back and put them back to their original function.
Have you ever thought about angels and dancing? In the same chapter in Luke where Jesus includes the scene of the people dancing, he also says that when sinners repent, that angels experience joy in God’s presence. The thread, in Luke 15, that ties the reality of angels experiencing joy, with Jesus story of the returned prodigal, is the joy in heaven and celebration on earth.
“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.
“Or what woman who has 10 silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her women friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”
Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and lyre.
Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with flute and strings.
-Psalm 149:3, 150:4
Hear God say, “Come dancing”.