As I sit down to reflect with you now, we are six Sundays through the season of Easter. What a season of fullness I have been immersed in these past few months! I’ve been hoping for a window of contemplative time to open – in order to officially inaugurate my new blog, and share with you some of the dance of life! If you are willing, I invite you to take a deep breath with me … and let it out with a long sigh. This is one of my favorite InterPlay ways of letting go of all that is bouncing around inside … and becoming present to the gift of this moment. I share this practice now with you!
So, the story goes like this … in Lent, as is my custom, I traveled to the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress where I danced at six liturgies and offered two workshops throughout the course of three days. A whirlwind! In my workshop entitled: Mourning into Dancing we honored the ancient Biblical tradition of grieving through embodied prayer. I invited all 65 participants to dance through the story of Lazarus with me. We divided the group and – Martha, Mary, Jesus, the disciples, Lazarus – all came to life in a kind of movement choir embodying each character in voice and movement. We dipped into the depths of grief – improvising a melody of mourning. We danced Martha’s anger, Mary’s heart-break and Jesus’ tears. And finally, we danced the surprise of new life as Lazarus came forth from his tomb and untwirled from his linen wrappings. I was very touched by the willingness of all the participants to enter into such a depth of expression and prayer in the midst of our hour and a half workshop! Such is the gift of embodied prayer.
One of the most exquisite experiences of LA Congress is gathering in the Arena along with 8,000 other people! To have the honor of dancing on behalf of all those assembled is an exquisite joy. And to be able to pray through the Eucharist together – with processions and incense, music and movement, deep quiet and full-bodied celebration is a true gift of experiencing the Body of Christ gathered in faith. To share with you a glimpse of this journey – take a look at the footage from our Closing Eucharist. About four minutes in to the following video, you will see the dance piece – So Beautiful – which we shared as a Song/Dance of Thanksgiving after Communion. May you be blessed by a bit of this beauty!
And because it is late now … I will leave the rest of the story for the next installment. Blessings and talk to you again soon! -Betsey
(c) Betsey Beckman, The Dancing Word, 2010