I’m sure like me you have watched the video of the couple who danced down the aisle at the start of their wedding ceremony. The Washington Post hailed the video as a picture of unbridled joy. Christian bloggers are questioning the appropriateness of such a dance in a Church. If you have not seen the video. You can find it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-94JhLEiN0&feature=player_embedded
Is there a place for dance in Church? Sometimes, yes. The first liturgy I attended at Saint Peter’s in Rome was the closing Mass of the Synod on the Church in Africa in 1991. The liturgy began with a liturgical dance in which the dancers gave thanks to God for the gifts of the earth of Africa. Dancers processed in carrying on their head huge baskets of the native fruits of the Africa. Drums beat in thanksgiving for the gift of the music of Africa and the Book of the Gospels proclaimed the gift the Good News to the people of Africa. The procession was magnificent.
Closer to home, I’ve seen liturgical dancers, before the liturgy begins, carry in candles as a celebration of Jesus who is light of the world and we who are the light of Christ for others. Some choirs will process in a simple two-step pattern singing God’s praises. In cases like this, dance can help raise our minds and hearts to God.
In God’s House
What is so appalling about this choice of dance is that it said nothing about God, it was all about the dancers. It was self-indulgent in a way that has no place in the house of the Lord. When in God’s house, it’s all about God. We go to church to give praise and thanks to God. We marry in the church to thank God for the gift of our spouse , to ask God to bless the marriage and to to be a part of the every day life of the marriage. If there is the be dancing, it should be in praise of God.
Scripture is in fact filled with God’s people dancing in praise at the right time and in the right place. The right place and the right time for this procession was at the reception, there, it indeed would have been good fun.