Sacred Dance

Sacred Dance
Pentecost 7, 2 Samuel 6, 1-5, 12-20, Mark 6:14-29
I have witnessed sacred dancing
that has stirred my very being:
wordless meaning that’s enhancing
prayer inspired by what I’m seeing –
spirit stirring, feelings freeing.

Yet our mainstream church disdains it,
though the censure is unspoken:
formal liturgy restrains it
into gestures that are token,
careful that no power is woken.

With exuberance, King David
danced before the Lord uncovered,
clad in nothing but an ephod.
Scornful wife at window hovered,
voiced past angers rediscovered.

When Herodias and daughter
used seductive dance, entrancing
king to order Baptist’s slaughter,
sex and politics were prancing,
poles apart from sacred dancing.

Yet religious fears have banished
all that dance might offer to us.
Shame in bodies has not vanished.
We’re unsure if what flows through us
might seduce us or renew us.

All the arts aspire to power
that can shake us or remake us.
Spirit gifts, abused, will sour;
linked to God, they stir and wake us.
Who can know where that might take us?

2 thoughts on “Sacred Dance

  1. A wonderful poem!!! My sermon only has a title “I hope you dance … for the right reasons.” Your thoughts stir it up into some real meaning.

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  2. Thanks Maren. I like your sermon title. I get frustrated with our staid middle class Anglican denomination. Some congregations value what they regard as classical church music – organ, choir (sometimes only a handful left), a lot of heavy Victorian hymns and anthems whose words I can’t own theologically, but there’s little encouragement for creativity here and now in all the art forms. I once had a vision of The Imagining Church, or alternatively Theatre Church, but I’m not entrepreneurial enough to make either of them happen – and 6 years in a small country town set its own limits. There’s a Uniting Church minister in Adelaide who is an amazing sacred dancer, but his congregation have a limited tolerance to his use of dance in worship. So many gifts are cramped inside those stained glass walls.

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