Worshiping With the Body: Posture Reflects the Heart

Worshiping With the Body: Posture Reflects the Heart

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In part one of this series, I wrote that our physical posture leads our souls to worship. Sometimes we require the discipline of posture to help us break through the fog of circumstance or apathy, and find our place at the feet of Jesus. But, our natural postures are also sincere reflections of our inner being. Many times, it is the subconscious, and most honest expression of our soul. Think of the wide-armed, heart-racing leap of a child toward his dad who has just returned from deployment. Or imagine crumpled knees sunk to earth when a dreadful phone call comes. Overwhelming internal response flings itself outward.

I was profoundly moved this Advent season by a creative worship element which I helped facilitate – a liturgical dancer moving behind a giant screen as an interpretation of a biblical narrative. For most of the time of preparation, it was (for me) simply a project to conquer. The combination of song, video, and shadow—complete with all of the safety considerations for a dancer behind a screen 15 feet in the air—was an amalgamation of many moving parts. I was pleased with our rehearsal results, but unprepared for the impact it would have on me in performance. There is just something incredibly moving about a pure heart reflected in humble posture.

The song to which the dance was performed, “Be Born in Me,” by Bernie Herms and Nichole Nordeman, reflects Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel when he tells her she had been chosen to bear God’s Son. It holds the tender lyric, “Before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees…” as Mary worships God in immediate response to the unexpected. Young Mary already was a worshiper, for only a heart turned to the Lord and attuned to His voice responds with the immediate surrender to His call that we see in Luke 1:38. As I watched our shadow dancer gracefully perform to the sung expression of Mary’s heart, I was struck by the way that sinking to her knees conveyed humility, the way her upturned face conveyed trust in God, and her open arms conveyed willingness to embrace God’s plan. I was reminded of the reverence that is held in the Psalmist’s words, “O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker.” (Ps 95:6).

As I interact with the Lord, in corporate worship, and in my every day life, and as I live and move with people all around me, what do my natural physical postures convey? I have no doubt that they really do convey my inner thoughts and feelings. I pray that as I begin to examine my movements, my gestures and expressions, that I will humbly acknowledge their representation of my inner posture, and allow the Lord to retune my heart. For I am His – spirit, soul and body. Would you join me as we rejoice now in this season of Epiphany, and let us consider our willingness to receive the Messiah with faces upturned, and arms wide open.

Image attribution: BERKO85 / Thinkstock


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