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(Photo: Dina Sleiman)Dina Sleiman dances

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven... a time to mourn and a time to dance. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

I love dance. It's a huge part of who I am, how I live, how I write, and even how I relate to God. My list of published inspirational novels includes titles like Dance of the Dandelion, Love in Three-Quarter Time, and Dance from Deep Within. I've often described my writing style as "lyrical stories that dance with light." Do you see a recurring theme here?

I've had the honor of serving as a worship dance choreographer and director for over two decades, and I've discovered that dance is, at its core, a form of communication. It can be used in as many ways as words themselves: worship, praise, prayer, intercession, warfare, prophecy, evangelism, teaching, and yes, even fun and entertainment.

Throughout my writing, dance became a metaphor for life: for the willingness to step beyond yourself, to embrace the wonder about you, to move in harmony with God's created universe. Yet dance is an actual physical expression as well. As joy and celebration build within, they require an outlet. And so, our hands and feet begin to move, our bodies begin to sing and flow, releasing emotions from our hearts and culminating in dance. Even releasing the heavenlies deep within through our fingertips and toes.

Dance is a fundamental form of human expression. It can be found throughout history in nearly every culture. It can be found in the Old Testament as a form of celebration, praise, and worship. Dance often serves as an expression of community, drawing us together in unity and love. David danced before the Lord with all his might, and God was well pleased. Even Jesus spoke of his frustration with the generation around him by saying in Matthew 11:17, "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance...." Yet how often do we stifle this wondrous outlet?

Most churches today that incorporate contemporary choruses sing about dance. "Dance with me, oh lover of my soul." "Dancers who dance upon injustice." "We will dance on the streets that are golden." "Dancing with my Father God in fields of grace." The list goes on, but do we take it seriously, or do we stand still and sing the words, hindering our bodies from becoming living, breathing expressions of praise?

Romans 12:1 instructs, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." Of course this scripture has many applications, but I prefer to take it quite literally.

Dance during Sunday service might or might not be acceptable in your church's culture. However, I encourage you, on your own, at home, in your prayer closet and throughout your life to offer up your bodies as living sacrifices of praise. Embrace and enjoy the wonder of dance, both as a metaphor and as a physical act. Take time to relate with God through this amazing form of expression, and join me as I explore the unforced rhythms of grace.

Dina Sleiman writes stories of passion and grace. By day this wife and mother of three nearly grown children utilizes her writing gifts with worldwide humanitarian organization Operation Blessing. She won the Carol Award from the American Christian Fiction Writers in 2016 for her cross-over YA novel, Dauntless. Check out Dina's many titles on Amazon or visit her website http://dinasleiman.com for more info.
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