We’re declaring that 2024 will be the year of the worship dance!
Get out there and boogey for the Lord! BUT, watch where you put those hands, kids…lol. The inclusion of dance in worship, particularly within Christian traditions, has had a complex history, even though dance is a form of joyous and reverent expression of faith, aligning with biblical references (Psalm 149:3).
The History of Dance In The Church In 7 Points
The historical avoidance of dance in Christian worship is a fascinating topic, blending theology, cultural norms, and church history. Let’s waltz through this history with a bit of insight and a sprinkle of humor.
- Early Christian Caution: In the early days of Christianity, there was a keen desire to distinguish Christian practices from those of pagan religions, which often included dancing as part of their worship. It was like saying, “We’re not with them; we don’t even have a dance floor!”
- Augustine’s Angst: Influential church fathers like Augustine grappled with the idea of dance. Augustine, who wasn’t a stranger to a wild party in his youth, later viewed such expressions with suspicion, fearing they could lead to sinful behavior. It’s the classic “I partied too hard, and now no one gets to party” approach.
- Medieval Moves: During the medieval period, the church’s stance on dance varied. Some religious festivals included dance, but it was a bit like that one uncle who dances at weddings – a bit awkward and not entirely embraced.
- Reformation Rigidness: With the Protestant Reformation, leaders like John Calvin and Martin Luther were more about scripture and solemnity and less about salsa. They emphasized worship focused on the word of God, fearing that dance could distract from spiritual reflection. It was all about the sermon, and definitely no conga lines.
- Puritanical Perspectives: The Puritans, well-known for their strict and somber approach to religion, were not fans of dance. They saw it as frivolous and potentially sinful, a view that influenced many Protestant denominations, particularly in America. In Puritan thinking, dance was seen as a slippery slope to all sorts of moral chaos – a foxtrot to folly, if you will.
- Cultural Context: In many societies, especially in the West, dance became associated with secular entertainment and socializing, which often included behaviors deemed inappropriate by the church. It’s a bit like mixing oil and water – or in this case, hymns and the hustle.
- Modern Moves: In recent times, there has been a shift. Many contemporary churches have embraced dance as a form of worship and expression of joy. It’s as if the church collectively realized that perhaps David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant wasn’t just an isolated incident of biblical boogie.
BUT, in spite of our sordid dance history, Song Discovery has curated a new playlist called “Dance. Sing. Worship Jesus!” This playlist is a refreshing compilation that interweaves the joyous expressions of dance and singing in worship – because why walk when you can dance, why talk when you can sing, and why just sit there when you can do both and worship Jesus!
Let’s take a whimsical journey through the top 10 songs, shall we?
- “Jesus Lifted High” by LUMINS, Austin Stone Worship Imagine if Coldplay decided to lead worship, but with more synthesizers and less British accents. This song is an energetic start to the playlist, perfect for lifting both your spirits and your heart rate.
- “You Got Me – Live” by ICF Worship, Dominik Laim Recorded live, because we all know worship songs gain an extra 10 points of spiritual energy when there’s a crowd. This song reassures us that God’s got us, kind of like a divine seatbelt.
- “Hallelujah” by Celebrate Africa, Kingdmusic If your soul doesn’t start dancing to this, check if it’s still there. A joyous, rhythmic celebration that proves “Hallelujah” sounds awesome in every accent.
- “Details” by Sarah Reeves For those who like their worship songs like they like their coffee – strong, sweet, and deep. It’s an intimate musical cuddle that explores God’s attention to the fine print in our lives.
- “Eyes On You – Live” by The Belonging Co, Sarah Reeves Another live track, because we can’t get enough of that “I was there” vibe. This song is like spiritual binoculars, helping us focus on the Big Guy upstairs.
- “Day by Day” by CalledOut Music The chill track of the list. It’s like the musical equivalent of a comfy armchair – soothing, relaxing, and makes you forget the chaos of life.
- “I Could Sing Of Your Love” by CalledOutMusic So catchy, you’ll be humming it in your sleep. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to jump on your bed with a hairbrush microphone.
- “Weightless” by Local Sound The modern, synth-infused sound makes your troubles feel, well, weightless. It’s like a musical helium balloon for the soul.
- “Take Over” by CalledOut Music This is the prayerful, “I give up, you take the wheel” song, but set to a beat that makes surrendering sound like the start of an adventure.
- “Praise (feat. Brandon Lake, Chris Brown, & Chandler Moore)” by Elevation Worship The grand finale, like the Avengers of worship music coming together. It’s a powerhouse of praise that could probably be heard from space.
In sum, “Dance. Sing. Worship Jesus!” isn’t just a playlist; it’s a spiritual party in your ears. So, lace up your dancing shoes, warm up those vocal cords, and remember: in worship, as in life, sometimes you’ve got to shake things up a bit!
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