A Dance of Lament

Psalm of lamentA dance of lament at Christmastime?

In this season when we praise God for sending His Son and marvel at the love of God expressed in Emmanuel, God with us, is there a place for lament?

This year, sorrow touched our family in the form of the unexpected and tragic death of a fifteen year old family member. Words cannot express the pain rippling through our extended family.

So, here I share my dance of lament, a way of sharing my heart with you, but also, hopefully, a way to give expression to the pain you or those you love may be feeling.

Jesus was no stranger to pain. He is described as, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)

Just one chapter after Matthew describes the birth of Jesus, he writes about the slaughter of the babies in Israel:

A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more. – Matthew 1:18 (from Jeremiah 31:15)

When words are not sufficient, dance provides a way to express our hearts to God and to make space for Him to comfort us.

As I danced, I used movements that we find in scripture. The Hebrew words in the video are the words for those movements:

Barak* – To praise by kneeling or bowing down – an implication of blessing God with humility of heart.

Shachah* – To depress: press down; to prostrate in homage or worship of God.

Nathar* – To jump, shake off, untie, to terrify. The Lord wants us to be free. Through the movement of shaking off…He will bring deliverance, a loosening or shaking off of bondage.

Chuwl* – To twist or whirl in a circular or spiral manner; to writhe in pain (as in childbirth); to bring forth….one of the only words associated with movement and intercession

*Definitions taken from the Dance, Dance, Dance! book by Lynn M. Hayden

The Lord is fully able to handle our lament and to meet us in it, bringing comfort and help.

My question for the comments section is this:

What practices have helped you, when walking through great sorrow, walk also in grace?

How have you stayed close to the Lord when circumstances look very dark?

I would love to hear from you.



12 thoughts on “A Dance of Lament”

    1. Thank you, Marilyn. I imagine that you already do. I had a mentor who told me that when I am drawn to something in another person, it is because that quality is also in me, perhaps something that the Lord is wanting to bring out more. A couple of resources that have helped me build an expressive style of worship dance are: The Expressive Worship and Dance, Modern Dance I, and Divine Choreography DVDs. Bless you.

  1. Amy, thank you so much for this dance. 2017 has been a year of lament for me in so many ways. Your dance movement here is so powerful to express that. Thank you.

    P.S. We took Lynn Hayden’s class together in Portland a few years ago.

    1. Hi Jennifer. Yes, of course I remember meeting you at the DFH conference outside of Portland. I’m glad that this dance spoke for/to you. I pray the God continues to meet you and speak hope and healing into the places that have been painful this past year.

  2. So sorry to hear of your loss. I
    Pray God’s comfort and peace for you and your family during this time of grief.
    I worship Him in dancing. It comforts my soul.

    1. Thank you very much for your kindness, Sarah. I love the phrase, “comforts my soul.” One of my questions for the Lord in this season is, “How do I care for my soul in the midst of this?” Bless you.

  3. Very powerful Amy, thank you for sharing. Your expression through the dance truly reveals the hurting heart of a lost loved one. It is amazing the release you can feel when you express your feelings to the Lord, however a person chooses to express it. Praying for healing and comfort for you and your family.

  4. Amy, I find myself once more moved by the way you demonstrate faithfulness and honesty in dance. Thank you. You all have been close in our hearts and prayers.

    1. Becky, what a gift to see your name and comment on my blog. Thank you. Thank you for your prayers. They have upheld us. It is a very painful time, but He is here, and I’m getting to know Him in a deeper way.

  5. Dear Amy Tang, I really enjoyed your Dance of Lament.” I pray the peace of God over you and your family. Thank you for being an awesome woman of God. I have learned a lot from your resources. You demonstrate the Heart of the Father through your Dance Ministry. It is my prayer to one day attend your workshop, and meet you face to face. Amy, keep dancing for King Jesus!!! Love you!!! God Bless!!!

    1. Thank you so much, LaVerne. I am so glad that you have learned from my resources. Praise God.Thank you for your encouragement. I would love to meet you in person one day. Bless you!

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