Young People and Dancing


Our church’s dance ministry got revived early this year and it’s just a joy to see so many young people being involved. They stay from 7 am to 12 noon to dance during praise and worship time for the 1st service and 2nd service. We usually have our youth service (which we call Salt and Light) at around 2 pm, so they just grab a quick bite at the nearby tapsilugan and head back to join the rest of the gang for their fellowship. Salt and Light ends at around 5 pm, so they again just stay in church to wait for the 3rd service since they’ll be dancing again. They practically live in the church on Sundays. Add to that their Saturday night practices. Oh, and I even see some of them on weekdays when they rehearse for special events!

Their zeal for serving the Lord through the dance ministry is just encouraging. More than always being present, the heart of these kids (they’re not kids; I just call everyone younger than me ‘kids’) becomes apparent to me when I see them actually worshiping God as they dance during the fast songs and even as they disperse during the slow songs. They also give their best with their dancing regardless of the number of people in the congregation. I saw them dance their hearts out for God yesterday with the same level of energy for 250 people and for 20 people.

I actually ended up crying (yes, with actual tears ’cause I’m a crybaby) last Sunday during praise and worship time as they had a short bit of using the tambourine and doing some interpretative dance during the “call to worship” song. It was caused by a mix of joy and nostalgia–joy because I was very glad to see that these teenagers choose to serve God despite the many temptations of this age, and nostalgia because I remembered the time 10-15 years back when I was the one in their place.

It seems that regardless of the generation, dancing is a favorite form of ministry by young people. I remember dancing with the tambourine, laurel and flags, having summer lessons about it, and even inventing our own “patterns” with my kinakapatid. We used to dance to songs from Don Moen (I will never forget doing the Lion of Judah pattern for the chorus of Firm Foundation), Ron Kenoly, and all those other gospel artists of the 90’s who had upbeat songs. We also did interpretative dances, and the ones that easily come to mind are those for our Daily Vacation Bible School which I miss so much!!! (Favorites that come into mind are that year when we did Star Quest: Galactic Good News and the one where we did Ocean Odyssey.) We eventually transitioned to modern dance, thanks to Carman (Revolution) and Gary V (Shout for Joy & Sa Yahweh). And the peak of our dance ministry (which we called Hataw JCLAM, by the way) was when we joined this inter-church dance contest held at AFP Theater where we placed 3rd. The choreography we did for that contest (music c/o ZoeGirl’s I Believe) has become our standard dance to teach for special numbers–and they do teach it to new kids to this day. I’m serious. Play that song in church and you’ll find around 50 people dancing along with choreographed steps. It’s kinda weird when I realize that we probably joined that contest in 2003.

How I wish I can go back to those days when I had the energy of a rabbit. It was so much fun to serve the Lord during those years–with an added bonus of doing it with your friends. Nowadays, with all the #adulting we need to do, it’s hard to carve out that much time from my schedule and more importantly, my body just cannot cope anymore (the +20kgs in the last 10 years did not help).

I realize though that while our physical strength may fade, the joy and fervor in serving doesn’t have to stop. We may now be called to serve differently and according to our maturity (i.e. via giving, administration, leadership) but we can approach it with the same love for Jesus that we had when we were young–or even more. While I had more energy and more time in the past, I wouldn’t really trade it for the wealth of experiences with God that I’ve gone through over the last 10 years. While I don’t discount the heart that I had for serving the Lord back then, my service now comes out of a heart filled with so much gratitude and love for Jesus as I understand more deeply what He has done for me on the cross and as I just swim in the ocean of His mercy amidst all the things I have gone through.

Finally, I now get why David danced as he danced in 2 Samuel 6.

***

Bonus video of the last time I danced hahahahahaha:

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