Shaking the Foundations

Shaker dance, from a woodcut on the cover of Don E. Saliers,  Worship as Theology: Foretaste of Glory Divine  (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1994).

Shaker dance, from a woodcut on the cover of Don E. Saliers, Worship as Theology: Foretaste of Glory Divine (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1994).

We should praise in and with everything we enjoy. Every faculty of the body should be dedicated to his praise. Our tongues were made to bless the Lord; our voices were given to sing his praise; and the Psalmist call on everything that hath breath to praise the Lord.

—Thomas Brown, a Shaker, cited in J. G. Davies, Liturgical Dance: An Historical, Theological and Practical Handbook (London: SCM Press, 1984), p. 67.

Christians believe that God is a dynamic being; one who is on the move; one who, if the Jerusalem Bible rendering of Zephaniah 3.17 be accepted, is himself a dancer and who, according to a Jewish exposition of the Song of Songs… will lead the dance of the righteous in the age to come—one who, if we may move outside the confines of Judaism and Christianity and accept that something of God may be learned from other religions, one who like Shiva in Hinduism dances creation itself. Dancing must be regarded as an entirely proper way of responding to and acknowledging the divine presence. To refuse to dance would be to identify him with immutable stability. To dance, although not in an insipid way, can be to do homage to the one who shakes the foundations.

—Davies, Liturgical Dance, p. 133.

Below: Covers of the two books mentioned in this post…