Artist: Anne Reid

Location: Toronto
Disciplines: Dance

Artist Statement

PURE JOY

Everything God made is good, and everything God made has one purpose, to make God, the creator, known to his creation.

The heart of a dancer that has been awakened to God’s love becomes one way in which He can make known the emotions of His heart towards the creation he loves. As the dancer gazes upon the one she loves, He in turn gazes upon her. As she feels His delight towards her, she is able to open the gates of her soul and allow Him, the King of Glory to enter, because she knows, even in her darkness, that she is lovely to him. The glory of this revelation unlocks her Spirit and reveals again and again the mystery of Christ and his Bride, the church. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. How can we be so loved, how can he place such value on our little lives? He is love and we are his greatest treasure. Once we have tasted it, there is nothing that can separate us from this love.

Jesus is Lord of the dance. To express the language of the heart in movement, the dancer presents her body to God as a living sacrifice and positions her heart before him in an attitude of prayer and worship. She says, “My body is for you God and I will not defile it by doing things with it that you despise.” I will crucify the desires of my flesh that war against the spirit. But it is based on his perfection, not ours, and it is that increasing revelation that gives us wings to soar. Grace teaches us to dance.

When we have walked in darkness, our natural instinct is to hide our true selves from others and even, if it were possible from God. When Jesus invites us to dance with him he is calling us into the light. He is the light of the world, in him there is no darkness at all. To dance with Jesus means we cannot hide our true selves. Nothing is hidden from him anyway, but we must become comfortable opening all the doors and windows of our soul so we can invite his gaze. In him we live and move and have our being. The dance flows out of this inner life and the purity of the dance is a reflection of the purity of heart. When viewed as a spiritual discipline, the beauty of the dance is that this sanctification process is worked out in the dance itself. As the dancer engages her heart in worship and intercession she beholds her bridegroom, she becomes more like him. Her heart comes into alignment with his.

Naturally, dance is the language of the dancer’s heart. When the Lord asks the dancer to dance he is speaking her language and reaches her heart in a particular way that is more meaningful to her and penetrates more deeply. The opening movement of the dance is our response to his invitation. The invitation comes because he sees the deep yes in our hearts even when we do not, even when we feel less than nothing. When we say, “Yes, Lord, I will dance with you, but I don’t know how to dance you must teach me,” he most certainly will. The first lesson will be to trust him, then to lean upon him, then to follow, surrender, then finally soar. For the dancer, the art of dance is a parable for the walk of faith. When we dance in this way, we are worshipping Him in spirit and in truth because it is the creative expression of the reality of our daily walk with him.

Like any worshipper, the worship dancer chooses to make that sacrifice of praise during all the highs and lows of the common journey we share on planet earth. We can be like King David, a man after God’s own heart, when we choose to run to dance with him again and again during all those struggles. The worship dancer says, “My heart is moved by you, King Jesus more than by any other circumstance of life. My spirit soars to be one with you, far above every difficulty, every sorrow. I would rather fall into your hands than into the hands of man. I dance and dance and dance with you and for you forever. Why? Because, he gives us beauty for ashes and a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness; he gives us dancing for mourning; because, he has become our life and our breath; because, he is worthy. And then there is that moment of glory, when our hearts burst past the point of pain or frustration or discouragement and we experience him receiving the sacrifice of our praise. Our worship has moved the King of Glory, he is ravished by just one glance of our eyes. He extends the sceptre. He says, “What do you want my beloved, my dove, even up to half my Kingdom.” Our heart whispers, “what I want is to do this again and again and again. All I want is you and to be with you where you are. You have become my desire. Nothing else satisfies. All that I am I offer to you, to love you forever.” In the furnace of this love we become one with him and are clothed with the glory he had with the Father in the beginning. The very glory he prayed we would have before he offered all that he was to love us forever. We are undone, every lie, every stronghold is shattered. There are no words, just tears, the rain of our Spirits that washes and cleanses every part of our hearts with the water of his Word, “I see you and I like what I see.” We arise, we shine, we are radiant. In that moment it is all, all worth it and we can say with Paul the Apostle, “For I am convinced that these light and momentary troubles are achieving for us a glory that far outweighs them all.” The Lord is glorified. Pure joy.

This expression to His creation, both to the dancer and the one who gazes upon the unfolding drama is one way God reaches into the locked places of our souls that are so longing to experience complete union with Christ. Christ said, we would know the truth and the truth would set us free. It was for freedom he set us free. We are free to dance. We are free to love and be loved. We are free to soar.

I am reminded of an Anne Murray song that was one of my favourites in my teenage years. When I heard it, and danced to it, I longed to believe that someone, somewhere, someday would sing this song to me. That someone turned out to be Jesus and he is singing this to you right now, “Can I have this dance for the rest of your life? Will you be my partner every night. When we’re together it feels so right, Can I have this dance for the rest of your life?”