Why I Dance

by Julia Singleton
Pastor, Middletown: Christ UMC

Every year I’ve attended Annual Conference, there have been a small but faithful group of people who hold vigil right before the ordination service.  Those passing are sometimes confused about why these people are standing outside singing.  For as many people who are there, there are that many reasons why they sing.

First and foremost, our songs are a prayer.  We join our voices and lift them to God. We sing for justice, we sing for our church, we sing for those who have been shut out, those who cannot be ordained or commissioned.  Every year, this gathering grows.  This year, the leadership was handed down to young adults who chose newer songs. I was familiar with all of them, these were the songs I was craving to sing in community at annual conference.  Songs that express both our love of God and our pain with being a broken body.  Songs of love and hope.

When I communicate with God, I use my whole body.  Sometimes I use only my body when words fail me.  When we sang, “Siyahamba” the Spirit moved and I danced.  Annual Conference fills me with a wide range of emotions, but in that moment, I felt joy.  I was “dancing in the light of God.”  I felt the great presence of community and I also felt all alone with God.  I danced like no one was watching because in that moment I was dancing for and with God. It wasn’t a choreographed performance; it was simply a prayer. I don’t know what the future of our church holds, but I know that God is with us.  All of us.  And for that, I dance.