Balter: (Middle English) To dance gracelessly, without particular art or skill, but perhaps with some enjoyment.
If I believed in past lives (which I don’t) I would say that I must have been a dancer. I love to dance! I guess you could say that I’m a dancin’ fool!
When I was a child, I studied ballet for a short period of time. I really liked ballet but I didn’t particularly like performing in front of other people. My mother also loved to dance and we used to have fun dancing all around the living room. I did the same thing with my own kids (much to their chagrin when they became teenagers). My hubby and I even occasionally enjoy a slow dance in the living room. (for New Year’s Eve, we got all dressed up, lit candles and danced to Frank Sinatra crooning).
During my teen and young adult years, people used to tell me that I was a great dancer. I loved to watch the movies Flashdance, Fame, Dirty Dancing and Footloose and imagine myself in them. I also love watching ballroom dancing – the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers type.
Unfortunately, as illness began to take it’s toll on my body, I was no longer able to “bust a groove” the way that I used to do. Body parts no longer wanted to obey my commands and my brain lost it’s ability to keep up with the rhythm. I began to feel like a puppet being controlled by a puppeteer suffering with Parkinson’s Disease.
But I still love to dance! So every once in a while I put on a hand-clapping, foot-stomping (often contemporary Christian) music CD and I dance – or rather “balter” before God in my living room. Not only is it good for my body, it is good for my soul and spirit. I certainly won’t win a spot on the “Canada’s Got Talent” TV show (I can just hear those buzzers now) but I think that God smiles when he sees one of His children dancing for joy and to give Him honour.
Now there are some churches which teach that dancing is wrong (ok – there are some people who look pretty scary or funny when they dance – my hubby falls into the latter category). I don’t think that such dancing is sinful in and of itself. However, I do think that the motivation or reason for which a person is dancing can be sinful. Exotic and/or lap dancing is in no way honouring to God. Neither would dancing around a tree, fire or an idol as worship.
Exo 32:19 And it happened, as he came near to the camp and saw the calf and dances, the anger of Moses became hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, and broke them at the bottom of the mountain.
Mat 14:6 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. (and that little dance number didn’t bode well for John the Baptist!)
God’s Word mentions dancing in a number of different scriptures. Dancing for God is a great way to show Him your appreciation for the things that He has done for you. Just as Miriam did after God had saved the Israelites from the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea.
Exo 15:20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand. And all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
David expressed dancing as a method of thanksgiving in Psalms.
Psa 30:11 You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have torn off my sackcloth, and have clothed me with gladness,
Psa 30:12 so that my glory may sing praise to You, and not be silent. O Jehovah my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
And King David danced as he was returning the ark of God to the City of David.
2Sa 6:5 And David and all the house of Israel were dancing before Jehovah on all instruments of fir wood, with lyres and with harps, and with tambourines, and with sistra, and with cymbals.
2Sa 6:14 And David danced before Jehovah with all his might.
2Sa 6:16 And it happened as the ark of Jehovah came to the city of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and dancing before Jehovah.
English songwriter Sydney Carter wrote the lyrics to the song “Lord of the Dance”. The words are written as though Jesus is singing them and pictures the Christian life as a dance, with Jesus as the leader.
“Dance, then, wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the dance, said he, And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be, And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he.”
I invite you to join with me in the dance of the Christian life. Come “balter” with me before our great and gracious Heavenly Father. I promise you’ll feel real good when you do! 🙂
Psa 149:3 Let them praise His name in the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
Psa 149:4 For Jehovah takes pleasure in His people;