Dancing with the Spirit
Miriam dances in an overwhelming moment of joy. Her people had just escaped slavery! Pharaoh with his mighty army had almost recaptured them, but then God parted the waters of the Red Sea to enable the Israelites to get through. Pharaoh’s army was crushed in the returning waters. Miriam and the women of Israel are eternally grateful to God for this miracle and they dance to express their gratitude.
David danced before the LORD with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. (2 Samuel 6:14)”
Another biblical dancer is King David. His dance is an explosion of thankfulness and happiness. He just succeeded in bringing the arc of the covenant to Jerusalem. The arc contains the two tablets with the 10 commandments, which are symbols for the covenant between God and Israel. The arc is of utmost importance to the ancient Israelites and a sign of great blessing to the nation.
God created us with bodies and a variety of gifts. We praise God with the gifts we have been given. We sing, we think, we write, we play instruments, we work, we speak, and we dance.
The HTLC dancers tell biblical stories with their dancing.
Pr. Kristin-Luana, the leader of the group, is trained in the art of Hawaiian hula. The purpose of hula is to tell stories and to capture special moments and places in movement. While the HTLC dancers use a variety of dance forms, the principle of story telling is always at the center of our work. We praise the Lord by telling God’s stories in dance.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly:he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”
(Luke 1:52-53, Mary’s Song of Praise – The Magnificat)
Spirit of Fire
And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2:2-4)”
Spirit is part of our Trinitarian God. God is our creator and parent. Through Jesus we receive forgiveness and eternal life. The Holy Spirit touches our hearts and minds and gives us the ability to be God’s hands in this world.
In what form does Spirit come to us? We experience Spirit through natural elements. Fire, wind, water, dove – God speaks to us by means of the created world.
On the day of Pentecost, Spirit comes in form of wind and fire and gives Jesus’ disciples the ability to talk with all people around them and tell them the God News of God’s Kingdom of peace and love. HTLC dancers represented wind and fire of Spirit, inspired by Philippine and South Asian candle dances.
God is Born
And she [Mary] gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)”
In our worship in the Christmas season we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. God came to earth in human form to be with us, so that we can be with God in all eternity. The story of Jesus’ birth is told in Luke 2:1-21 and Matthew 1+2. The HTLC dancers told this story in the language of hula. We re-wrote the traditional carol ’12 Days of Christmas’ to capture Jesus birth and the resulting great joy of his parents, the animals, angels, shepherds and wise men.
Dry Bones Coming Alive
He [God] said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to” come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 37:3-6)”
This prophesy from the book of Ezekiel is part of the traditional Easter vigil liturgy. As we await the moment of resurrection of Jesus, the day of Easter, we recite this ancient promise of deliverance. The dance shows the ‘dry bones’ coming alive, trying to find their bearings, first turning against the living, then understanding that they are called to worship the Lord. The chancel choir accompanied us with the spiritual ‘Dem Dry Bones’ by James Weldon Johnson.