Jeremy Begbie said, “Our concern then is what we might call ‘theology through the arts.’ This means giving the arts space to do their own work as they engage with the primary testimony of Scripture and with the wealth of Christian traditions. It means that unfamiliar theological themes are uncovered, familiar topics exposed and negotiated in fresh and telling ways, obscure matters clarified, and distortions of truth avoided and even corrected . . . . It also means benefitting from the extraordinary integrative powers of the arts, their ability to reunite the intellect with the other facets of our human make-up—our bodies, wills, emotional life, and so on.”
I agree with Jeremy Begbie. In the church, we need to value the arts and use their sensory design to reach a broken world. Jesus himself modeled the transformative power of the arts with an endless array of words and movements used to show us truth (Matthew 7:24, John 4:13, John 6:51, John 12:36). In the Bible, we find ourselves welcomed into creative stories and parables molded with images and symbols that stir our imaginations. God’s personal love story is filled with bread that is packaged in heaven, a rock that helps us persevere, water that lives, and light that you can trust. These examples flood Scripture over and over again with authority because Abba Father delights to show us faith that travels on sensory pathways. Let’s use them to let everyone see the Lord of the Dance as Scripture reveals Him to be.
Of course, this blog is written to emphasize the power of the arts for church ministry with a specific focus on dance. Spirit-led movement can give flesh and blood to the bones of holistic faith when a Christ-follower fuses mind, body, and spirit to glorify God through biblical lifestyle choices, by watching that integration in a dance, or by embodying biblical truth as a dancer. Non-verbal movement is the language that provides the connection between the body, worship, and ministry using communication that no one needs to translate. In a profound way, the body speaks when it glorifies and worships God. That is the intent of a Creator God who loves His people and wants them to fully function according to His design. Mark 12:30 reads, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
I hope that you think through what it means to love the Lord with all of you. Let’s make sure that we invite others to observe the power of movement personally and the beauty of dance as a tool of the Gospel.