“You turned my mourning into dancing. You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.”
Notes for Contemplation as You Use this Devotional:
- This passage from the Psalm sometimes titled, “Mourning into Dancing,” expresses gratitude for answered prayer, for the Psalmist has spoken and been recognized. It also honors God as the Source of all healing and renewal.
- Praising God doesn’t do anything for God. God, infinitely compassionate, unconditionally loving, doesn’t need our praise. Rather, praising God reminds us of our eternal connection with the One Power and One Presence in the Universe and in all creation, including us.
- The Psalmist’s sorrows replaced with joy are described like clothing, reminding us of what we put on and take off, whether physical garments or internal beliefs.
- Dancing and singing are creative expressions requiring us to move our bodies and use our voices. When we dance and sing, we express the essence of who we are as one of God’s Beloveds. We also can be recognized—seen and heard—when we refrain from silence, allowing ourselves to live our truth aloud.
- Dancing and singing (or chanting) also are forms of prayer which help us reconnect with our soul. In many African and indigenous cultures, this creative expression becomes praise, allowing us to shed sorrows and celebrate our oneness with God, the Earth, and each other.
- Our souls guide us not to merely exist, but to live fully.
- Carla DeSola, a liturgical dance pioneer and founder of the Omega Dance Company, teaches that “the body is the primary text of learning, and when guided by the spirit, it mirrors the yearning of God in our hearts.”
As you reflect on your life and circumstances, ask yourself:
- In what, if any ways, have I been silent or felt stifled?
- Without analysis or judgment, list, word map, or illustrate as much as applies, no matter how small or insignificant it seems.
- What do I want to express?
- Without analysis or judgment, list, word map, or illustrate everything that’s on your heart, no matter how small or insignificant it seems.
- When I contemplate my desire for self-expression, how is my heart yearning for God now?
- List, word map, or illustrate your yearning.
- When I contemplate my yearning for God, how is my soul calling me to dance and sing, or otherwise express creatively?
- List, word map, or illustrate whatever applies.
- What truth is my soul calling me to live out loud?
- List, word map, or illustrate whatever your truth is.
- What are at least three (3) ways I can continue nurturing my soul so I am free to express my truth?
- List, word map, or illustrate as much as you can imagine.
Use this devotional anytime you feel stuck or stifled in your self-expression or when you want to focus on greater spiritual growth. During your prayer, meditation, and contemplation time, listen for what your soul is saying. Notice how it’s encouraging you to deepen your connection with God. Allow your still, small voice—your intuition—to lead you to whatever is best for you. Trust the process and your heart’s yearning. Even if you aren’t literally called to dance and sing, something within you desires creative expression. Love it into being and share it with the world.
© 2022 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved.