Let’s dance—getting our groove back

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I don’t dance. Do you?

Even though the Bible encourages dance, I don’t indulge. At the end of the book of Judges there is an unfortunate story where dancing is stifled in an abusive and traumatic manner. There was a shortage of women for the tribe of Benjamin. So a plan was devised that while the daughters of Shiloh were dancing at the annual festival of the Lord, the single men would rush in and kidnap themselves a wife. It was negotiated with the fathers and brothers of the young women to allow the attack. Joyous dancing of the vulnerable was tragically turned into mourning.

My almost two-year-old granddaughter is a dancer. From birth she has always had an immediate physical response to music. A smile breaks across her pretty face. Her petite arms go up into the air, and her slender shoulders rock side to side as her head bobs back and forth—her little body becoming a total expression of joy! I would love to dance with my granddaughter. But I don’t. 

Maybe I too was a dancer when I was two. Maybe like the women of Shiloh (Judges 21) I was kidnapped while dancing and my groove was locked in the “no-you-shouldn’t” drawer. Sometimes at church gatherings I feel moved to obey the Psalmist and raise my hands in worship, but I’m too self conscious. I prefer to keep my “want-to-groove” hands firmly in my pockets.

At Samoan weddings when a classic Samoan tune strikes up and the newly married couple step out for their first dance I want to join in, but I’m uncoordinated (code for cannot dance). More importantly I don’t want to bring shame to my family! I don’t think I’ll be doing any dancing this side of the archangel’s trumpet call.

For now, I look forward to the restoration of joy, celebration and even dance promised by God through Jeremiah: “The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing” (Jeremiah 31:13). Whatever you face this week may the joy of our Lord help you get your groove back. And, I’ll keep praying my granddaughter will never lose hers.

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