I am sure you all have different traditions of things that you do at Easter, I love to make little gardens and chat to the children about what we are doing and why.
In this season as we are spending more time at home, I’d thought I’d share an activity for the whole family to take part in if you wanted. Here are some tips on how to make your own Easter Garden. You’ll need the following items –
Large shallow tray/ dish/ pot
Small cup or pot
Sticks – 3 long and 3 shorter
String or elastic bands
Larger stone go across the ‘tomb’
Place some soil in the base of the dish, then place your small pot or cup on its side two thirds of the way back. Fill the space and cover to make a hill.
Take your three longer sticks and 3 shorter sticks. Using elastic bands or string secure them together to make a cross.
Place stones or something decorative on the soil in front of the tomb. Then cover the mound with moss or grass, you could even plant some small plants there is you wanted.
Finally, place the crosses on the hill and the stone across the tomb and place some where as a reminder. Don’t forget on Easter Sunday to roll the stone away and have a party! If you make one, why not share with others what you have done and why.
Wow. What a period of unknown we are entering into. I’m sure each of us have many different feelings at the moment. One thing for sure, is that we need to stand firm on our foundation – God’s word and Jesus. It has struck me that we need to be active with our dance ministry in this period of change moving forward, God has been speaking to me about raising a worship dance army.
I want to share with you four ways that you can choose develop your dance ministry during this time of change. Ways that you as an individual can grow and develop your dance ministry, or ways you can do it for your group.
1. We are called for such a time as this.
During some of the many hours I am up with my son, I had quite an intense time of searching with God. There are many things on my mind at the moment, but the biggest one is that God is calling us dancers and movers to step up. Step up and move, dance, declare God’s glory, peace, power and love across all that is going on.
The words from the song Firm Foundation have washed over me during the past week, speaking affirmation, encouragement and joy into a situation that looks quite bleak! We share our faith through dance and movement, demonstrating our faith, deeds and action.
Part of my response to this conversation with God involved embracing the lovely March weather. Heading to the beach, because that was where God said I should dance, and putting movement to this song.
So the first way to develop your dance ministry is by being willing to respond to Gods call.
Moving forward as a dancing army
Last year I shared about the golden whirlwind picture I was given, where essentially there were little tornadoes above each person’s head. As dancers and movers moved the little tornadoes gathered together into a big one.
All those little ripples merged together to create a change in the atmosphere that was unprecedented (you can read more about it here). I had already begun to see this picture start to come to fruition at the beginning of the year. But going forward our ability to move and dance as one will be even more important.
God is leading me to encourage a Dancing Army. By this I mean, making the choice to use our dance and movement to cause an even greater shift in the atmosphere. We have this magnificent opportunity to demonstrate worship and faith in different way going forward. Your dance ministry can help this grow by being bold and stepping out, building a dancing army. Choosing to simply be Jesus with your movement and encouraging others.
Dance a little Louder
The song Raise a Hallelujah has a line in it ‘sing a little louder’ where every bit of me wants to do more than the words give. God is calling us to move more, to dance strong, dance it loud and dance it from the heart. Now is our time as dancers to step out into all God has made us to be. To pray, to move, to go deeper with God.
Part of this requires gathering with other dancers and as we become more of a dancing army – our dance, our song – is getting louder.
Dance ministry is hard work, it requires dedication and always choosing to put Gods pathway first. It also requires stepping out to encourage others and be in the gap when others can’t. Dancing louder with more vibrancy, declaring Gods heart and putting his word front and centre.
Create an online dance ministry community
Community brings cohesion, the opportunity to join together and move as one consistently. You cannot beat face to face dance ministry. However, you must adapt to the circumstances around you, which is why at UC Grace we are launching Prayer Dance Bites. Short 20 minute gatherings online 2-3 times a week, to read and respond to scripture. All ages welcome.
How could you create community online to encourage others with your dance ministry. Choose to get people moving and dancing their prayer. Creating fellowship, catch up and time together.
Want to join us online?
There are several different ways that you can join UC Grace online.
Prayer Dance Bitesprovide the opportunity to connect scripture and pray through weekly sessions via zoom. Further information is available here.
Scripture Promptsbring you scripture right into your inbox once a week. They offer 3 ways to engage with scripture in a way that you might not normally. For more information head here.
As a Christian it can be hard to remain on track, hard to
remember our focus, the promises God has said, the words that our written in
his heart about us. Over the past few years I have developed the 5 smooth stones
concept, which has become the cornerstone of my faith, and keeps me going in
those moments when life gets hard.
Let me explain about
the stones first
Take a normal stone, they usually begin quite angular with
sharp edges, a smooth stone is one that has been handled repeatedly, so much so,
that the sharp and angular edges have worn down and what’s left is a smooth,
but firm stone. Which is solid, and in most cases heavy! Imagine carrying 5 of
them around, they would be quite weighty! However, they would serve as a
reminder that there is something there. Something physical that you can cling
to and lean on.
But how is that the
cornerstone of my faith?
Each ‘stone’ is a scripture which has become important to me
during my journey and they speak to me and remind of what God is saying and how
he is there to support us. They help to maintain a strong foundation, that is
always rooted in Christ
Here are my 5 smooth stones –
Phil 2.15 – So that you
may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and
crooked generation.’ Then you will shine
among them like stars in the sky.
This is one of the key verses that I started UC Grace with, it
speaks so much to me about how each of us is important and can shine a light,
even in the darkest of places.
1 Corinthians 16:13 – Be on
your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous, be strong.
This is one of my most longstanding verses, it was given to
me when I got baptised in 2004, and it remains framed in a poster on my stairs
as a daily reminder to be firm in what I know and who I lean on.
Deuteronomy 33.27 – The eternal
God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Such a comfort verse! And a great one to visualise that God is all around us, surrounding us at those times that we feel low.
Romans 8.39 – nothing will
be able to separate us from the love God.
Nothing, however small will get in the way of Gods love for
us. When I went away to university I was given this verse on a pillow, a daily
prompt to know that God loves me. The verse (and the pillow!) has stayed with
Hebrews 13.6 – So we say with
confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals
do to me?
Where ever we walk, God walks with us and he is ready to
help us. Sometimes we just need to know that God will always root for us and
help us regardless of circumstances.
So you see, some of these verses have a long standing
history that have been with me a while, others have been added to over the
years. You don’t have to have 5, why not just start with a few. As long as they
are engrained and you know them, they can support you through your day.
I’d love to know whether you have any smooth stones, why
they are important to you and how you let them support you throughout your day.
Want to be kept up to date with all things UC Grace? Head here.
It’s been an awesome start to our events this year, with our
first Living Colour morning of 2019. Such a privilege to meet with all the
dancers and spend time catching up.
Our focus during the workshop session was exploring Proverbs
3.1-8, by looking at 3 main sections, Gods teaching and foundation, his
faithfulness and understanding when we are struggling and having help come
There was a great conversation about verse 1, and the
different interpretations in different Bible versions. One version talked about
‘storing’ commands not keeping them, which is an image of treasuring the things
that God gives you.
In verses 3 and 4 we chatted about how we can forget the small things that God is faithful in, and that it’s important to remember them daily. Participants worked in pairs to pick 3 or 4 areas that they felt God was faithful in. They wrote these down on separate pieces of paper and placed them at staggered points across the space. Working with their partner they put those faithful things into a journey, what they realised as they danced and shared with others, was the importance of fellowship and being with someone as you share in your faithful journey.
Below is short film of Servina and Jane’s, and Caroline and Helen’s Faithful Journey.
Our next Living Colour is planned for Saturday 22nd June, you can check out the info here. But why not join us before that at one of our dance days.
Last night I had the privilege of being invited to be part
of the Candlemas service at St Micahel’s, Aldershot, it was such a lovely
evening, I left buzzing and I want to share some of what God spoke to me during
I had been asked if I could find some dancers who could
respond as the felt led to a piece of live piano music based on Psalm 121: I Life
my eyes up, to the Mountain. The lovely Helen Warren joined me as a second
dancer, and our prayer before we danced was that we would reflect some of Jesus’
heart, that people would be drawn in with a desire to explore God more through
Recently I recognised that I spend a lot of time teaching
and delivering, and not so much time dancing for myself. Last night gave me the
opportunity to come before God and thank him that I have the ability to move,
but also reinforced that for UC Grace to grow, and share Gods heart, I need to
make sure I am giving God mine, and that in turn requires time set aside for me
to dance, and be lost in his love through movement.
As the service progressed, Alwyn, the Vicar asked if we
would dance again later in the service. By this point me and Helen felt we had ‘warmed
up’, laid the foundations of showing Jesus through movement. So, as Jesus
Christ, I think upon your sacrifice played, our hearts were stirred more by the
spirit and we loved sharing more of that through dance and movement.
Much of the journey I have been on over the past week has
encompassed the desire to draw back to the centre of what and why I do what I
do with UC Grace. There were several things that God drew my attention to last
night, it made me chuckle as the theme seemed to be everywhere I went at the
In my previous post I mentioned about the interaction between creativity and the heart, and that my desire when I started had always been that it was about the hearts impacted not the numbers. You can read more about it here. It is this theme of people’s hearts and prayer that keep cropping up.
This prayer below reminded me that God places me where I
need to be and with who I need to be, and I need to be willing to serve Him in
what ever way that looks like.
It’s really hard in reality isn’t it to keep that sense of doing what God wants and following his will. This chorus of ‘I the Lord of sea and sky’ (brilliant song, you can listen to here), sums it up very well.
I will hold your
people in my heart. The people that God puts in front of me at events, in
conversations and through dancing. Each one is important.
We did manage to video some of what we did last night. Not
everything is in full view. But it will give you a flavour from our first
What special services have you danced in? Let me know.
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