Have you considered the possibility that you are wired by a creative God, to think and be creative?
This might sound strange and uncomfortable, if you would consider yourself as someone who doesn’t have a creative bone in their body. Are you someone who would say “I’m not creative at all”, “I can do a bit of this and that” or “Yes I am creative”?
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:28
Where do you see a creative God?
I took this picture recently at a UC Grace workshop. The sky, the birds that evening as well as my friends movement to a worship song were so awe inspiring, it caused me to stop what I was doing and take a moment to take it all in.
Our heavenly father made all of this. From darkness he made the world come into being. You and I are made with the very same hands, in this very image. We have a creator God, who made the fish, the sea, the birds and the stunning sunset and so much more. He creates on mass, with an abundant quality, God doesn’t do things by halves. God is the greatest creativity guru of all time and paints a canvas with the sky and the sea and so much more.
How does that make us creative?
So if that’s true, perhaps he has wired you and I to possess something of this life-giving creativity ourselves.
Being fruitful and multiplying means ending up with more than you started with. Perhaps God may have blessed you with an ability to dance, write, cook, be an entrepreneur, design something from scratch, build something out of wood or metal, sing, be a speaker….or perhaps you are yet to discover the gifts God has given you. But I want to say to you today, He will have given you gifts to create something. Gifts that He wants you to enjoy and develop, and also share with others.
How can I respond to knowing we have a creative God?
Consider doing some or all of the follow to help respond and explore this:
What has God has blessed you with creatively? An ability to dance, write, cook, be an entrepreneur, design something from scratch, build something out of wood or metal, sing, be a speaker….or something else?
Write out the blessings that come to mind.
Display them around your home as a reminder and encouragement of what God has given you.
Ask God to reveal a new way to share and bless others with these gifts today.
This has been written my Emma as part of our Scripture Prompt series. Scripture Prompts are weekly emails that share some different and creative ways to engage and go deeper with scripture. To find out more get in touch here
This weeks scripture prompt explores Genesis 1.1-2, looking at how we can apply various aspects to our day to day life. One particular phrase in the verses that stands out to me is ‘the spirit of God was hovering over the waters’. Even as the world began, God’s spirit hovered and was with us.
How has God got my attention?
God works in different way, and, as I have walked through a tough season the past month I have witnessed different ways that God has caught my attention and called me to listen.
The first being the sky and clouds that we walk under each day and the second recognising the presence of God’s spirit.
The outside has always been a special place for me, it’s a place that calms me and focuses my attention on what needs to be focused on.
I have found that in those moments when I am struggling with life and need refreshment, I take a step outside. The depth of my faith comes from interacting with much of the outside world . Even as I write this, I am looking out the window and focusing on the trees behind the house opposite. How the wind is moving them in the breeze. The visible display of an invisible power. The exact way that God’s spirit works, weaving it’s presence in our lives.
Above those trees are the clouds. Fluffy clouds with darkness round the edges, a glimmer of baby blue at the top and bright white and sun poking through. This image that I see is a display of God’s glory and an open invitation to recognise how God moves in my life.
Letting God’s spirit infiltrate
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1.1-2
As I’ve been reflecting on Genesis 1.1-2 and my approach to life circumstances I began writing what was on my heart and writing what God was saying. The result of this was a heartfelt poem that I can impact others and encourage them with what they might not see, feel or hear God’s spirit.
Just remember, regardless of how we may feel, God will always be there!
You’re always there – Poem written August 2021 by Anna Gilderson
Sometimes we can feel like we are stuck in a rut with the way we worship dance, sometimes feeling like we are always doing the same thing. God doesn’t think this, He loves all the movement you create. That being said, there is nothing wrong with choosing to explore and push the boundaries of our movement to deepen our conversation with God. Here are 5 simple ways that you can grow your worship dance choreography.
I love association when it comes to teaching. So rather than using boring words I’ve gone for imagery and something to visualise. The Bible and worship are full of imagery anyway so it makes sense to use it to understand and develop your worship dance choreography. So, let’s break these 5 tips down.
Painting your canvas
Painters often only have a 2D canvas to work with, but as dancers our canvas is 3D, 360 degrees, often we can forget this. The easiest way to explain this is, imagine there is a giant glass box, bigger than you and you are put within it. Your ‘performance’ space, or area to dance in, is not just in front of you. It in front, behind, to the side, up above and down below. It is everywhere. Not only are you aware that you have all this space as your canvas, but also any observers that see you will recognise a depth in your movement due to the different facings that you focus on.
Golf ball to beach ball
Size plays a massive influence on the movement that you create. Just like painting your canvas it impacts on the visual eye and the energy of the dance, as well as the story. Minute finger movements to large whole-body movements each tell a story. Think through some of the movements that you have done recently, have they all been the same size or have you varied your approach to a movement?
Sloth to leopard
Speed can be something that we are afraid of as dancers. However, it is something that creates an ebb and flow in our dance, drawing both yourself and observers into what is happening. What speed naturally dominates your movement? A consistent continuous one? Or do you find yourself picking your moments with which to be fast or slow? What your body demonstrates with speed engages the dancer and observer on the journey that you are on. Whether that’s taking the same movement and doing it at different speed, or have different movements at different speeds. Scripture poses a great opportunity use this worship dance choreography.
Cricket to fly
I am sure by now you can work out what cricket to fly might mean!! Both are creatures that move and travel about in different ways (and speeds). You’ve got the cricket that travels ground through jumping and clinging to things. Then you have the fly, who flies (!) about chopping and changing direction. Just like when you paint your canvas you change the focus and facing of your movement. Travelling and moving across your space is important. You create patterns and shapes with the movement across the floor and jumping, twirling, sliding, twisting, running and more provide a way to move across that space. Cricket to fly is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in worship dance choreography.
My last tip is about expressions, focus, quirks. The extra bits that help tell the story, express the song or reveal the meaning of God’s word. All these other bits are important in worship dance choreography to cement the journey, exploration and performance. Monkeys are great at showing up in different ways what’s needed, bringing in that extra little bit of flare.
Applying the use of these tips into worship dance choreography
Not sure how you can build out a sequence? Here are 5 applications from the worship dance choreography tips above –
Look at a piece of scripture (e.g. Psalm 36.5-7) identify different levels, changes and focuses within the verse. How can the things you’ve noticed help you to paint your canvas?
Looking at same scripture, identify the words that connect to size. How can they transpose to movement?
Take the movements you created for size and choreograph two variations of it and different speeds. What do you feel the speeds demonstrate?
In what ways can you lengthen and grow the movement sequence that you have at the moment? Go back to the scripture, what other things stand out for you? How can you add them into the sequence to show travel?
Finally, pause! Think about the worship dance choreography tips AND the scripture. What else can you add into your sequence to show what the scripture is saying. Think about the journey you are showing and the story you are creating from the scripture.
I’ve only skimmed the surface with how you can use these 5 worship dance choreography tips. If you want to know more check out the membership and mentoring options with UC Grace here.
This blog post is written by Emma Swinden, one of Scripture Prompt contributers.
During Scripture Prompts this week we explore the meaning of Matthew 14.2-4 and how we can apply it to our day to day life.
Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
How does the view of a child change things?
Is there something Jesus wants us to learn through the humble eyes of a child?
Imagine how a child might put on their wellies on a rainy day and approach a puddle? How might a child see that puddle? As something exciting to jump in and make splashes with perhaps?
My 6 year old son has a love/hate relationship with water. I am reminded of the ear-to-ear grin on my son’s faces as he charges with utter joy into puddles on rainy days. I am also reminded of how he can thrash around in the bath, resisting the hair wash.
My role as his Mum is to speak encouraging words to him, try my best to be calm when his emotions rage and even sometimes lift him out of the bath to keep him safe until he calms down. And he does calm down. We talk about how I’m trying to help him so that he doesn’t get a yucky itchy head and that his part is to surrender so it can be over with quickly. So he can return to playing with his rubber duck. It’s a team effort! Then he wraps his wet arms around, saying, “I’m sorry”, in acceptance and love.
There’s something very humble going on when a child needs help with something or when they delight in a puddle.
The childlike faith of Jesus.
Relate these two scenarios to the child-like faith Jesus asks of us when approaching Him and we may ask, how can I be more humble in God’s eyes?
Now I’m not saying that submitting to something you don’t want to do (even though it’s good for you) or getting soaked in puddles is everyone’s idea of fun. But perhaps there’s an area of your life where you can experience this kind of childlike humility. Where you let God be in charge of things and take care of you, or where you can choose to see the delightful, perhaps less obvious, adventure He has placed before you. Where you can humble yourself and relinquish control and find love, acceptance, understanding and delight? God wants us in a position where we can be His child and become the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Putting into action the meaning of Matthew 14.2-4
Thinking about some of these themes why not step out and begin to explore that in movement and prayer. You can try some of the following:
Create a movement or shape with your body which acknowledges a desire to humble yourself, in child-like trust, to God. This might include thinking about levels, the focus of your eyes and the size that your body is.
You can also consider whether there is anything you need to lay at Jesus’ feet and say sorry for today. Talk to God about this and receive His forgiveness, using words, movements or during a time of quiet.
Prayer is a personal thing, how each of us do it will reflect our character and the unique way that God made us. In many places the Bible talks about prayer, but today I want to focus on what is intercessory prayer. A phrase sometimes people frown at or misunderstand and consider that intercessory prayer is something some super holy people do. The reality? We are all intercessors! I hope to share with you today how you can be encouraged about intercessory prayer and understand what it is.
Let’s start with prayer itself.
Prayer is our ability to talk to God, to invite him into our day to day lives and express what is on our hearts. It’s recognising that you’re just having a conversation. But this conversation is with someone who not only cares about you deeply but wants the absolute best for you no matter what.
Prayer is something that is also put on a pedestal, and we are led to believe that we need to do it, say it, act it in a certain way. It took me many years to recognise that prayer is about how I live my life with Jesus, not how someone else does it. The Bible gives us the tools we need, most importantly the Lord’s Prayer, as our anchor and springboard to create our prayers. When we can grasp how simple prayer can be in our life, we can begin to understand about what intercessory prayer is.
Do you pray for others?
The dictionary describes the word ‘intercessory’ as having the function of interceding. Interceding is about acting or interposing on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble. Think about when you pray, what do you pray for? Are praying for anyone else at all? Then you are interceding and creating an intercessory prayer!!
Ezekiel 22.30 is a great place to look at this in more detail. It says –
“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.
Ezekiel recorded these words from God. God went looking for someone to stand in the gap for sinful Jerusalem. This is a brilliant example of what we can do in our own lives. Do you need to step into the gap when someone else can’t?
I love thinking of this as an image of shields. God’s armour is there to protect and ground us. The shield may offer some protection on its own, but when it joins with others it’s a mighty force. As we step out to pray for others, we are strengthening that shield and choosing to put on God’s armour.
Stop wondering what intercessory prayer is. You are already doing it. Those times you say you’ll pray for someone; you’re stepping in and strengthening that defence. Don’t be disheartened, be encouraged that you are already an intercessor!
How can I deepen my understanding of what is intercessory prayer?
For this last bit I wanted to help demonstrate ways that you can be an intercessor when responding to scripture.
The Psalms are packed full of references to prayer. As this month we are focusing on the Psalms, I wanted to share some verses that specifically reference prayer and how they could help you be an intercessor!
Psalm 4.1 – Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
The key themes here that you can pray into someone for are – comfort to know that God is there, peace and trust that God will carry them through their distress.
Psalm 66.20 – Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
The key themes here that you can pray into someone for are – praise that God had heard their prayers and that God’s love is bigger than they know.
Psalm 141.2 – May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
The key themes to pray for someone here are – that the Holy Spirit will have the freedom to work in the areas that it’s needed and that the person will be thankful with how God is working.
I do hope this encourages you in your prayer life and stepping in the gap for others. Some of these blog posts might also be useful to you.
Have you ever been asked to do prayer movement? What have you thought about it? How did you respond? Sometimes hearing those two words together can raise an eyebrow, but the reality is everyone who prays already uses prayer movement. Let me take a few moments to explain what I mean by this.
How do you come to pray?
Often when we come to pray there is certain things we always do as we come before God. That might be closing our eyes, opening our Bible, bowing our head, going on our knees, opening our arms out, raising our hands and so much more. They are all things that people do for prayer to come into the presence of God. To draw closer to him and be ready, and they are all movements.
Just take a pause here and think about the last time that you prayed. Think about how you readied yourself. How you took yourself through that moment and how you drew closer to God. Write it all down or remember all the little things that you did. How you did it, what did you respond to the most, what is really important when you pray?
Everyone moves when they pray.
I watch people and they say I’m not a dancer and I’m not a mover and that’s fine I hear you, everyone is different. However, everyone moves when they pray and that’s really evident probably from the things that you have written down. Or through observations as you see others come to pray.
How often do you just pray without ANY change in the state of your body? Or put another way, how often do you talk without any expression? Not often hey! Even as I am writing this (or speaking into a microphone) I’m moving my hands and making facial expressions.
Very rarely can we come before God and pray (or worship!) in a bland way putting no expression, no motion, no movement in it. The reason is because God created us, he created us to live and move and have his being. To respond to him.
‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17.28
In many places in the Bible it talks about laying hands on people when they pray. Why? Because God moves! As we choose to use movement and prayer together, we are acknowledging that God will move. That the atmosphere will change.
‘At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.’ Luke 4.40
How can I be more conscious about my prayer movement?
As we come before God we use our whole body. Every single bit of us because it takes our focus, because we have an intention about what we are creating. We are creating a conversation, an open door, an opportunity for change.
I talk a lot about intention within dance and intention with prayer movement. At the end of the day if you don’t have any intention with what you were doing it’s not going to reflect your true heart.
Here are 3 things I want you to consider as you go onwards with your prayer movement:
1. What do your hands do when you pray?
2. How is your body when you pray?
3. Where is your focus?
As you become more aware of answers to these questions you can begin to think about what you are wanting to declare through your prayer and what that could look like with movement. For example, if you are praying about someone’s heart and mind. You can place your hands on your head and then hands on your heart. Alternating between them as you feel led whilst you pray.
In conclusion, can prayer movement be defined?
Yes! But how you define it, comes down to you and the impact it has on your life. For me, and UC Grace this is my definition…
Prayer movement is your body’s reaction to drawing closer to God. The external display of an internal feeling and preparation for a conversation. It’s nuances that only you and God know. Fleeting moments when you choose to acknowledge your connection and conversation with God. The reality of moving through life sometimes 100 miles an hour but still always doing the same thing when you choose to pray. To have that conversation and allow intention into the time of response with God.
Will you realise where movement fits into your prayer journey? Keen to explore it in a more informal way? Consider joining prayer dance bites that allows short, focused sessions looking at scripture, our reaction in movement and our prayer from it. You can find out more here.
The following blog posts are also good starting points –
During prayer dance bites last night we entered into a great conversation about whether we truly recognised that God lavishes his love on us. I just want to take a few moments today to share 3 insights that came out of our discussions. We looked particularly at the scripture reference 1 John 3.1:
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
There is so much depth in this verse and so much that we can learn, apply and trust God with. In the whirlwind of life, how deep God loves us often gets lost. Take a moment and think about what the word Lavish could mean, and what it means to you.
God’s love is like an invasion.
How do you like to feel love? Or how do you show love to others? We have a generous God that continually pours out his love to sustain us. But God knows the way to love us that speaks to us the most. If you’ve not heard about the love languages, they are certainly worth looking up (see link at the end). The Love Languages identify the way that you receive love best, this can help you in your various relationships. God loves us in such a way that He doesn’t have to think about how to give us love, He knows. Often we have the decision about whether we choose to receive that love.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us.
Consider the image of an invasion happening, when a winning side arrive on the scene to complete the invasion, they consume the area they are aiming for. They take it over completely. That’s the love God has for us. A love that overwhelms, releases the floodgates and crashes into us. God loves us with such a depth it’s overpowering.
There is no argument, God loves us.
This sense of overpowerment causes us to pause and recognise that we are called children of God. Children have an innocence and need to know they are loved, to feel compassion. As God calls us his children, he makes a clear statement that brings no argument.
…that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
Think of it like this – God loves us, lavishes on us, because we are children of God. As children of God we need to receive that with an open heart that enables us to stand firm with all God has for us.
We need to brace for impact.
Is your heart really open to all that God has for you? Are you ready to receive it? Chris Tomlins song Impact has a line in it that says:
Brace for the impact
The first time I heard it I did a double take. Why do we need to brace? What are bracing for? As we talked during prayer dance bites it dawned on us all. That how much God loves us is an overwhelming, tidal wave surging, storm crashing impact. By that I mean if we truly receive the words of this verse. Recognising that God loves us lavishly as we are his children, love will invade us with such force that we need to brace for the impact because it will be all consuming.
How can we respond to this?
If you’re a mover and dancer you can explore how God loves us by dancing to the song Impact by Chris Tomlin. Think about these 3 words –
What can these look like in movement? How do these words make you feel when you think about the depth that God loves us?
This video highlights what was shared during our Prayer Dance Bite session as well as some further thoughts and movement from me.
You can find out about the Five Love Languages here.
Not sure what Prayer Dance Bites is but would like to know more? Head here. Would you like to be part of the UC Grace journey? Then head here to sign up and be kept in the loop with what we are doing.
Creativity surrounds us, wherever we look, people, landscapes, businesses, things that go, plants, food, music and so much more each have an element of uniqueness about them. If, creativity is around us all the time, that must mean that it has some influence on how we live our day-to-day life. If God inhabits our day, one must assume that creativity is part of our day too. This week I want us to consider how creativity in worship is naturally part of what you do. How can creativity, worship and our conversation with God blend into our everyday?
What’s the deal with Creativity?
You just need to look around you and see with amazement the things that God has created. He takes great care with what he makes, being specific and knowing every detail, creativity in worship shines through everywhere.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, Genesis 1.14
This act of creation shared with us, means we see stunning clouds and sky by day and amazing stars at night. Each one deliberately put there. Part of Gods plan when He ‘created’.
The English word create stems from the Latin word creare which means to make, bring forth or produce. Everyday each of us will do those things – make, bring forth or produce.
Take a moment now and write down everything you have done with your day so far.
Creativity allows the possibility to explore something different. It challenges your perception about what you see and do, and how it could be done differently. It isn’t one size fits all. It’s the willingness to explore and acknowledge even the little things.
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139.17-18.
The little things such as the grains of sand and ALL our thoughts were important when God created us. He took the time to lean into those small details. Think about the small details that occur day to day for you, do you recognise them and thank God for them?
Let’s look deeper at worship.
How do you worship? What is important to you when you worship? What does it involve? Spend a few moments noting down the answers to those questions.
I have always seen worship as part of my everyday routine, as I begin conversations with God, I am entering into a time of worship. An acknowledgment that what I am doing is for him. Often worship is only considered as singing, or time together on a Sunday morning. But it is much bigger than that. This verse in John sums it up well.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4.24 (emphasis mine)
In a nutshell according to this verse, entering into a conversation with God in any form is connecting with his spirit. Connecting with his spirit is part of creativity, resulting in creativity in worship. It’s like a perpetual cycle, one thing cannot happen without the other.
But how does creativity in worship go hand in hand?
As we draw to the end, I want to take some time to share and help you recognise that what you are doing already in your journey is using creativity in worship. You might also find some other things that you want to try.
Put a pause in.
Let’s look right back at Genesis again and remember that even through all that God was creating. He recognised the good bits, stood back to look at them and paused. This was a specific action that he put in at the end of every day. He chose to pause.
‘God saw all that He has made, and it was very good.’ Genesis 1.31
Perhaps for you, the biggest challenge in your creativity in worship might be putting in a pause, a full stop. To see what God has done or is doing. As you read on in Genesis God talks about how he chose to rest and bless that day.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2.2-3
For me this verse isn’t talking about ensuring there is a full day of rest in your week, although lets face it that would be lovely! It’s talking about how God made the active choice that to connect with his spirit and what he had done he needed to pause. And choose to bless what has been done.
Day to day putting in a pause (however big or small) and choosing to acknowledge God will enable you to draw closer to him. As you build confidence, your conversations, movements and actions during that moment of pause will become more intentional.
Write it down, draw it, move it out.
God made us all unique, that means how we choose to record our journey will be different.
You could write it down in prose, poem, song, story. Draw it in intricate detail, or any way you like. Or, move and dance what ever is stirring on your heart. That could be as simple as standing still, kneeling down or raising hands. It could also go deeper and involve a complete movement dance.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29.2
In our worship give God glory. What that looks like for you will be different to your friend. For example, although I love to move, part of my worship is also creating this blog post. It’s cutting out material patterns, it’s eating food! They are all things that can remind me of God’s greatness and how He is part of my conversation daily.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12.1
As I remember those things I acknowledge what God is doing, I praise Him and thank Him and chat with him. This grows my creativity in worship.
Create delight in the mundane.
This is a favourite of mine. It’s about the intentional choice to involve God in those things that you have to get done day to day.
Yep, you’ve guessed it! The cooking, cleaning, packing, folding, washing, drying and more that can encapsulate the majority of life. The stuff that has to get done and often we don’t want to spend time doing. So why not bring God into the occasion?
Listen to a sermon or song as you iron, wash dishes, fold clothes etc.
Pray for someone every time you make yourself a drink – you have a list up on the wall.
Give God praise as the kettle is boiling. Remember that God wants his passion to bubble up inside us.
As you clean focus on the sin Jesus washed away, what do you need to say sorry for?
I could make a big list of things. This is all creative, it’s all worship. Action and intention creates a reaction.
As a starting point for you, why don’t you list, things that you know you have to do day to day down one side of the paper. Then on the other side of the paper write one way that you can interact with God through it.
This is your personal way to grow your creativity in worship! Let me know what you create!!
You are creative!!
A final note to finish with, is a reminder that you are creative. What ever it is that you do there will ALWAYS be creativity in it. God is all around us, so he’s all around your creativity and what you create. Cheering you on, giving you your best.
Whether that’s –
Writing blog posts, reports and documents.
Creating dance and movement
Playing with children
Building, drilling, or cutting something
Planting, growing and sowing things.
There is creativity within you. You can make the choice to include it in your conversations with God.
During this month we are looking at the story of Esther, how her character and story can play a key role in our day to day life, particularly during this season. When you look into the character of Esther there is so much to learn, as dancer, it seemed simple to put that into a dance. In this post I want to share with you how I created Christian dance choreography for her character. The sticky points I came across and how exploring Esther has given me a greater understanding of what her story is all about.
Understanding the background.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have spent a long time in Esther exploring the story, and how it impacts on my journey of faith. Throughout this deep dive I came up with the following descriptions that were part of her story.
Creating a mind map of what stands out to you about a character or story allows you to begin exploring movement, pairing phrases and look at the emotion that the phrases create. This acts as a starting to point create your Christian dance choreography.
As you can see above, after the mind map, I then created a list of 6 key words that I felt spoke to me the most about Esther’s journey.
Creating a refrain to ground your Christian dance choreography.
Often in a piece of choreography there is a refrain or motif. This is something that creates a general thread throughout the dance. It keeps reappearing sometimes the same, sometimes different. But it offers a chance for expansion in emotions and dynamics.
For Esther I felt it important that the refrain was based on preparation and the word nervous. Two things that gradually grew over the time of her story. Often when we are preparing, we need to be deliberate, lift our head and eyes to see what is coming… even if we don’t want to! Part of Esther’s preparation was various beauty products for her body, only then could she go in front of the King. That must have been a very nerve racking first visit.
When you watch the video see if you can spot the refrain and the movements Esther carried through her journey. Creating your refrain is a great starting point for developing your Christian dance choreography.
Developing the character descriptions.
Once the refrain was created, I knew that the rest of the movements needed to be padded around it. It’s one of the things I love about creating Christian dance choreography. There is no set way of doing it. But this process that I’m explaining, is probably my favourite way.
Demonstrating the other things that Esther’s story took her through – boldness, walking with it all, stepping out, trust. Requires thinking about the emotions, anything visual that stands out, shapes, dynamics etc. Take each one at a time and see which way your body wants to move.
The one I struggled with the most was ‘walking with it all’. Esther chose, despite her background and how Haman was acting to still keep moving forward, to keep walking. As a singular dancer I found this quite hard to explore. In my mind to develop the Christian dance choreography I want to move in and around groups of people that might choose to step in my way.
Instead, I explored it by trying to create continuous flowing movements that moved me around the space, with pauses and changes of direction as needed.
Piece together and find the emotions to complete your Christian dance choreography.
I chose to explore pairs of words when I filled out the choreography I had around the phrase. Pairing boldness and walking through it all as one. Then step out and trust as another.
All of these phrases intertwine, but they tell a story of emotion, challenge, pause and growth. Primarily I moved without music. I found that this didn’t inhibit the movement I created. You have the choice to create movement with inspiration from the music or to focus in on the theme.
The music placed behind the Christian dance choreography for the character of Esther is there for background purposes.
I had so much fun (not only because it was snowing) settling in and dancing this. I hope you enjoy it!
Following on from my blog post How can I start to Prayer Dance, I wanted to take the time to be more specific about ways that you can begin moving and encountering God through prayer and movement. What’s important to remember is that all movement day to day can be a part of your prayers. It’s the intention that’s behind the movement when you do it.
I want to break it down into 3 easy movements for you to explore at your own pace – stand, sit or kneel and lie down. Each of these are postures that can be made before God, during your worship and prayer time. The reason these movements work well is because it encourages a 3-dimensional view of your prayer. Looking forward, behind, around you and up above, it changes your perspective to what you are praying for.
Let me break it down a bit –
Standing itself is an action, think about all the different ways you can stand and whether they are always static. For example, we very rarely stand completely still. Often, we are swaying slightly, shifting from foot to foot or walking/ moving forward.
The intention behind a standing prayer is the decision to look forward to what is to come. Accepting what’s happened behind and choosing to seek God with the future or ways to move forward. It’s noticing what happened before to get you to where you are now and striving forward to see what will come.
Sitting (or kneeling)
Sitting often requires an acceptance of the situation or moment that you are in. It might also involve an exhale of breath and the release of tension.
The intention is pausing in the current whirlwind to see where you are. Allowing yourself to be in the present, notice things around you. People, conversations, God. To choose to take big breaths for that moment.
Lying down forces, you to look upwards, to lift your face to what’s coming down, receive, accept and look at all the areas you couldn’t see from the other perspectives!
The intention is surrender, turning your face to God to receive his spirit, to listen to his voice and give to him the things that you have been holding onto.
But how will these movement help me with encountering God through prayer?
Let’s put it into practice…
Before we add an intention to your movements, get familiar with the movements and the space you’re in. Work your way through the different postures making note of what you see and how you feel. Often there is one that feels more comfy.
Now decide what you want to pray for…
Sometimes, if you’re a pen and paper person it can be useful to write down the things that you might want to pray for in each of the different postures. Or you can wing it!
Then move it…
You can work your way through the different postures speaking out your prayers in each place, pausing to listen to God.
Or if you are a mover and dancer then you can step out the things you have written into some simple movements or hand gestures.
The intention that you bring a movement can make it a prayer. So even if you’re washing up and scrubbing something clean, you can choose that movement for example to be a prayer…
About removing bad words said against you or someone else.
For new things to come when old stuff has gone.
To see the goodness amongst the craziness of life.
Intention in the action creates the prayer.
If you’re interested in learning more about prayer, dance and movement then there’s a free PDF download you grab here.
There is also weekly prayer dance bite session, where we look at scripture and how that reflects in our life at the moment and adding movement to do. More information about this can be found on the Prayer Dance Bites page on the website here.