Several months ago my church, Bridgeway Christian Church, was working their way through the book of Judges, and as I sat listening and studying Deborah from this book, I couldn’t get the image of a woman dancing and an urgency to portray The Song of Deborah (Read Judges 5). However, at the time, I was focused on another project for another sermon, so I put the image aside because it just didn’t fit with the timing.
Now, fast forward to about two months ago, the artist ministry group for which I belong to, passed out an updated schedule of Live Painting opportunities and I choose one in the rotation. (Live Painting is a phrase we’ve coined, and it just means that an artist- usually a painter- is painting on stage during worship and sermon before a live audience. I “paint” with fabric.) As the time approached, the theme of the sermon shifted to worship, and it struck me that this was where “my dancer” would come to fruition. Our Pastor focused on a phenomenal lesson on the different ways we worship, how important worship is and how we all connect to God in a variety of ways.
It was an incredible weekend. I had so many people come and speak to me regarding my dancer and how it spoke to them and amazing emotional connections. There was even a moment while I was on stage, pinning away, I got teary eyed because I could feel the percussion climb up through my feet into my chest from the music and I could sense the movement of dancers behind me. Words can not portray adequately how this moment was pure and heartfelt throughout the room.
And you might be asking, what does painting have to do with worship? For me, it’s an outward visual expression. Most of the artists in my group would pretty much agree that we see ourselves as a visual tool and often try to represent or visually respond to Scripture. When I read the bible, I often see pictures, colors, images flash across my brain. What better way to depict worship than a free spirited woman dancing in praise? She’s in motion with God. Her dress is light with encouraging words from Ecclesiastes 3 wrapped around her. Her hand stretched outward to the heavens. That is the rhythm of God.