Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
Sometimes we suffer not only from denying and suppressing grief, but also from denying and suppressing joy. Joy, like grief, is a physical experience. It is an emotion that carries a great deal of energy–energy that begs to be released. In grief, this release is usually found in tears. In joy this release is often found in making music, shouting and dancing.
Sometimes prayer is about shouting for joy and dancing.
Something wonderful happens when we play music and raise our arms and move our feet and shout our joy about the gifts we have been given. As we dance we can shout out our words of gratitude. “Thank you, God, for life today! Thank you, God, that you are with us! Thank you, God, for your love!”
This kind of activity allows us to take in the gifts that are continually given to us. This kind of prayer grounds us in our body and in the breathtaking gift of the moment. We need to do more of this. For life is precious and the gifts we are given often go under appreciated, under celebrated, under enjoyed.
People who are faced with life threatening illnesses sometimes experience moments when their eyes seem to be opened to see that heaven is here on earth. Colors may suddenly be brighter. Life itself may feel heart breaking in its sweetness. The act of breathing is understood to be a miracle. There may be a sense of being given glimpses of the beauty and wonder of all that normally seems ordinary. And in these moments it seems clear that it would be appropriate to shout for joy with each breath.
Shouting and dancing in joyful praise for all we have been given and all we are being given brings our minds, our bodies and our spirits into a place of grateful wholeness. It heals our despair, our lethargy, our dullness. It awakens us more deeply to the reality of God’s goodness and care for us.
Many of us were raised to constrict our movements and our noise making. Many of us were raised in cultures which had strong constraints on the expression of emotion. But such constraints do not apply in God’s family. It is time to turn up the music and to put on some dancing shoes. Shouting and dancing for joy is blessed. It is a form of prayer to which God invites us.
I shout to you who can hear my faintest whisper.
I sing to you who sings so tenderly over me.
I dance for joy, God of the dance.
For all you have done.
For all you are doing.
For all your good gifts and loving care.
I shout my praise to you.
I dance in joy for you.
Put on some of your favorite music and shout your joy while you dance in praise for God’s good gifts–and for God whose love endures forever.