I Can Praise Him with the Dance
A young girl finds a way to use her talent to praise and honor God, while encouraging others to do the same.
By Vicki Hammons Woodlee
Honor God, Praise, Talents, Worship
Approximately 15 minutes
"Hurry," Kallie's mom shouted from the kitchen. "We don't want to be late!"
Kallie took one last look in the mirror, switched off the lights, snatched up her sneakers and scurried down the stairs.
Honk! Honk! Everyone was waiting for Kallie in the car. She opened the front door, then just as quickly slammed it shut and ran back upstairs. She grabbed her Bible off the night stand, tucked it under her arm, and then took the stairs two at a time to reach the doorway.
Honk! Honk! "Hurry," yelled Kallie's brother from the car. She closed the door, locked it, ran to the car and jumped inside. Kallie's dad turned slowly into the church parking lot noticing that only a few spaces remained.
Once a month, rather than having the usual Sunday night sermon, Kallie's church invited the members of the congregation to praise the Lord with a God-given talent. Some people sang and some played the piano, guitar or flute. Others gave their testimony or read a poem. It was always a night of joyful worship and praise. Kallie walked into the sanctuary and sat in one of the pews reserved for the youth.
"Aren't you excited?" chirped Melody, Kallie's best friend. "Tonight I'm singing in two different numbers and I am sooooo nervous!"
Kallie laid a reassuring hand on her friend and smiled. "You'll do just fine," she said.
Almost all of Kallie's friends had something to do for Praise Night. In fact, she was the only one in her youth group who had never performed and she struggled with the deep desire she had in her heart to participate. Kallie wasn't blessed with a beautiful voice, and she didn't have the talent to play a musical instrument, but she did have a longing in her heat to glorify the Lord on this special night.
"I wish that just once I could perform at Praise Night," Kallie confided to her mother on the way home from church.
"Yeah right," teased her brother from the back seat of the car. "It's called Praise Night, not Pain Night, and nobody wants to hear you sing! It hurts my ears to think about it!"
"That's enough," said Kallie's mom. "It might be true that you don't have a good voice Kallie, but God has blessed you in other ways. Why don't you dance?"
The car fell silent. "Mother, you can't be serious," Kallie whined. "So many people in our church believe that dance is a sin. How could I possibly convince them otherwise?" asked Kallie.
"Kallie," replied her mom, "The Bible says that God is the Creator of everything, and that includes dance. Read your Bible Kallie, and pray for God's guidance. God will honor a pure heart."
The next day at school Kallie watched the big, black second-hand on her classroom clock slowly click off the last few minutes of class.
Ring! Ring! Finally! She bolted through the double doors, bounced off the porch, and dashed to the car.
Kallie had been taking dance at a Christian dance studio for the past seven years, and today she was anxious to talk to her instructor about dancing in her church. What would she think about such a performance? Would she agree with Kallie that dance is a form of worship?
Kallie changed into pink tights and a pink leotard, and then slipped into her pink ballet slippers. She crisscrossed the pink satin ribbons around her ankle until she had the perfect fit, then tiptoed to the mirror. It was a studio requirement that Kallie wear her hair in a bun, so she twisted and rolled her long, brown hair into a neat, tight circle and pinned it into place with heavy, gold hairpins. The sweet sound of "Amazing Grace" filled the room, and Kallie took her place at the barre.
"Plie, Passe, Tendu, close First," called Kallie's teacher in time with the music. "Now releve and reach. Reach high and praise the Lord with your dance."
After class, Kallie waited in the office to talk to her teacher. "Miss Andrews," she began, "have you ever heard of dance being allowed as a form of worship in church?'
"Of course!" replied Miss Andrews. "Many churches even have Praise and Worship Teams which include dancers from different age groups. You know, Kallie, God didn't intend dance to be sinful, but sometimes man takes a gift from God that was meant for good and changes it. Read your Bible, Kallie. You'll find out that even in the Bible there was dance. Miriam, Aaron's sister, danced to express joy and gratitude to the Lord when He provided safe passage across the Red Sea. She took a tambourine in her hand and all the women followed her with tambourines and dancing. You can find that story in the Book of Exodus. And Kallie, the Book of Samuel tells us that David danced before the Lord with all his might while he brought up the Ark of the Lord into the city. Dance is a form of worship, Kallie, and Psalm 149:3 tells us exactly that! Pray about it Kallie, read your Bible, and remember, the Lord honors a pure heart."
The next class began to arrive and take their place at the barre. "Thank you for your time, Miss Andrews," Kallie said. "See you next week."
Later that night, after homework and a bath, Kallie held her Bible to her chest, closed her eyes, and prayed. "Oh Lord," she whispered, "You know my heart. Please show me how to worship You with dance."
Kallie read all the scriptures her ballet teacher had told her about, but the scripture that moved her the most was in the Book of Ecclesiastes. In this book of the Bible, God tells us there is a time for everything, including a time to dance. Her heart felt a warmth which flowed in waves. And then, Kallie knew. This was the time. Time for her to introduce dance to her church.
Saturday morning Kallie walked into the office of her preacher, Brother James.
"Kallie, what a wonderful surprise," he said. "How can I help you?" he asked while motioning for her to take a chair.
"Brother James, please tell me how you feel about dance in the church," Kallie said. "I really want to dance for Praise Night, and I feel this is something the Lord is leading me to do."
Brother James folded his arms across his chest and leaned back in his chair. "Kallie, not all dance is sinful, but most people have never seen dance used in any way to glorify the Lord," Brother James said. "Dance, like music, can be used to serve the Lord, or used to serve the world. We haven't banned music or singing from the church even though we all have heard examples of how these talents can be used in an ungodly fashion. Kallie, if you have a pure heart and an absolute love for the Lord, then others will feel that when you dance."
The next time Praise Night was scheduled for her church, Kallie was ready. She was dressed in a long, white dress that barely touched her bare feet. Her hair was braided with white flowers and pink ribbons. Right before she took the stage, Kallie prayed. "Oh Lord, you know my heart is pure in my desire to worship You through dance. I dance to praise You and for no other reason. Please soften the hearts of those here tonight who feel dance is sinful and let them see You though me."
When it was Kallie's turn to perform, she headed straight to the microphone to address the congregation. "Let us praise Him with the dance," she said boldly. "Psalm 149:3."
Then she stepped back to the center of the stage, bowed her head, and lifted her hands to the Lord. As the song, "How Great Thou Art" began to play, Kallie forgot about everything except her love for the Lord. And she danced. And she danced and she danced, all for the glory of God.
Kallie's church still has Praise Night. Some people sing and some people play the piano, guitar or flute. Others give their testimony or read a poem. And now, some people dance.