The prophet Miriam danced in celebration of the exodus from Egypt, “while all the women went out after her with tambourines, dancing” (cf. Exodus 15:20-21). King David danced before the ark of the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14). Psalm 150 enjoins us to “give praise with tambourines and dance” (cf. also Psalm 149:3). As the prodigal son returned home, he heard the sound of music and dancing (Luke 15:25). In Seville, six choirboys dance before the Blessed Sacrament on Corpus Christi.
This video recently made at the St. John’s Abbey depicts a journey to attain tranquility through the vehicle of dance. The dancers begin at the baptismal fount and make their way down the aisle as they search for peace. It’s quite beautiful – give it a look.
OK, I’ll be honest. Dance in church really isn’t my thing. Do you suppose I can appeal to cultural context, since we didn’t do that sort of thing where I grew up in southern Minnesota? Or should I ask myself whether people who believe in the incarnation and the goodness of all creation including the human body shouldn’t get over their discomfort, and examine their conscience for traces of Puritanism or Jansenism?
Maybe we should have more dance in the liturgy. Maybe the young people in the video could lead the newly blessed water into the sanctuary at next year’s Easter Vigil.