Thursday, January 6, 2011


for the Essentials Blue In Worship Theology Certificate Course with Dan Wilt

We serve a God who celebrates. All throughout Scripture, God is shown as one who rejoices, who dances, who sings over His creation. He set up feast days and commanded the people of Israel to celebrate. Jesus’ first miracle was performed at a celebration. Celebration is not a human idea. It is first of all God’s idea, and He alone truly knows how to celebrate.

Nowhere in Scripture is celebration a dry, rigid event. It is filled with food, laughter, dancing, and rejoicing. The fact that the church at Corinth was reprimanded for becoming drunk at the Lord’s table indicates that the early church’s communion time was a much more festive and abundant occasion than our meager cracker and sip of juice/wine of today. I think the pendulum has swung too far.

“Fundmentally, those who lose their joy when they see dancing or hear laughter in the church have a faulty understanding of God. Subjectively, they cannot truly enjoy such things because they do not really believe that God would enjoy such things. A radical change in one’s view of God should take place at the point of conversion, because celebration is part and parcel of salvation. “[1]

At the heart of our reaction to celebration is a lie that says that God is always somber and that emotion and physical expression in worship is displeasing to Him. We only have to look at the Psalms to see that this is not the case. The Psalms are full of expressive acts of worship and full of emotion. In the Old Testament, celebration was a solemn requirement, not an option. Deut 16:15 “…you shall be altogether joyful.” I guess joy and celebration do not have to spring from a feeling!

High points in the Old Testament were marked by festivity and dancing “especially…when God’s mighty acts were experienced or when the covenant was renewed.”[2] I hate to say it, but in the West, festivity and dancing of this nature are reserved for touchdowns and homeruns by our favorite sports teams. God might get a golf clap or an “amen” or “halleluiah” in church today. The truth is: He deserves a hoe down.

“As the church retreated from the use of dance in worship, it was gradually taken over by secular society, and what was originally created by God for the praise of God became the property of men with no love for God. The secularization of dance is a direct result, not of the renewal of the church, but of the retreat of the church.” [3]

Let’s get renewed. Let’s allow the light of His countenance to shed light on the lies we are believing about Him that are keeping us from joining in the fullness of the celebration that He intends for us to participate in here on earth. Let’s open our hearts and minds to the cleansing power of His Truth and allow Him to reset our thinking about who He really is: the celebratory God that dances wildly with ecstatic jumping and leaping over His beloved bride.

1 Derek Morphew, "The Restoration of Celebration," Inside Worship.
2 ibid.
3 ibid.

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