Thursday, April 8, 2010

More About Physical Expression in Worship

Okay, I’m back. I learned a few things I hadn’t expected. For example, I didn’t expect to read about people sitting before God!
Here are a few principles that stand out. First, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). If God really expects us to do this, then of course any posture is acceptable; because He wants us to pray all the time – while we’re doing everything else.
This puts some of the above posture in context. For instance, lying down on a pew in a chapel would probably look like sleeping and distract a lot of people. But praying in your bed at night when you can’t sleep would be perfectly natural and right.
Another consideration is culture. That might sound strange, as if I were contradicting the whole premise of this book. I believe in taking God’s Word literally and in following it even if it seems outdated or even unacceptable in our culture. I don’t think there is any verse which is irrelevant to us for any reason, including the 2000-year/ Hebrew-to-American gap.
On the other hand, it would be unrealistic to try to understand what God really meant when He said certain things without considering the culture of the people to whom He was directly speaking.
Take the word “dance,” for example. We are commanded to praise God with dancing. When is the last time you’ve done that? I must confess I never have. But what does it look like to praise God with dancing (beyond the 1 Thessalonians 5:17 principle)? It would be easy to insert our modern concept of “dancing” into the ancient word. But what would the original readers have pictured? Waltzing? Square dancing? Hip-shaking? Break dancing? I doubt it.
The Strong’s Concordance gives the following words for dance:
· 2287 chagag – to move in a circle, i.e. to march in a sacred procession, to observe a festival; by implication to be giddy: celebrate, dance, a (solemn) feast (holiday), reel to and for
· 2342 chuwl or chiyl – to twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner), i.e. to dance
· 3769 karar – to dance (i.e. whirl)
· 4234 machowl – from 2342; a (round) dance
· 4246 mechowlah – feminine of 4234; a dance: company, dances (-ing)
· 7540 raqad – to stamp, i.e. to spring about (wildly or for joy): dance, jump, leap, skip
· 3738 orcheomai – a row or ring; to dance (from the ranklike or regular motion)
· 5525 choros – a ring, i.e. round dance (“choir”)
Twist, whirl, circular, spiral, whirl, stamp, spring about wildly or for joy, jump, leap, skip, round, row, ring, ranklike, regular, company, move in a circle, march, giddy, reel to and fro, sing, round.
My Young’s Concordance offers these definitions: chorus, turn, twist, move round, skip, lift up the feet, move round, company.
Have you ever seen Jewish dancing? I had the opportunity to attend a friend’s bat mitzvah several years ago, and the dancing certainly resembled these words. It was beautiful. Several young girls, moving in a circle, twisting, twirling, jumping, skipping clapping their hands.
You know something else I’m reminded of? Little kids. Children love to dance; and very young children who have not been exposed to too much television dance very similarly very simply and very much like the above words.

No comments:

Post a Comment