Psalm 121 gives us a beautiful picture of how God wants to
support us in our journey and encourages us to trust his guidance and plans. Each
person will respond differently to the Psalm, but unlike the Armour of God that
we used for last week’s Friday dance, this Psalm creates a much softer response
for us to think about our journey.
During the Moving with a Strong Movement Foundation day we looked
at two contrasting pieces of scripture to demonstrate the strength and softness
of God and how moving to different pieces of scripture, can be interpreted and
demonstrated in different ways.
I found it fascinating to watch how the duos (and one trio)
set about to demonstrate what the Psalm meant. Most wanted to portray one
person as God and the other, who was seeking to trust God with his guidance. For me
it really did demonstrate how differently God speaks to each of us and
sometimes just declaring something simple brings an incredible response.
I wonder where you feel you are with your journey at the
moment, are you letting the softness of God into what may be quite a chaotic,
upturned life? God says ‘He will not let your foot slip.’ So remember in a
crazy life with lots going on, where things seem to run at a high speed, God
wants you to remember he is there, he won’t let you fall, look up, follow him
and allow his softness and who he is to shape your life.
Read Psalm 121, watch the video, let God speak and relax.
We had a great dance earlier in May in some lovely space at
Christ’s College Guildford; there were several new faces, some of which had
travelled quite far to join us for the day which was even better.
the day we explored many different aspects of what the Bible says about
movement and what it means to us. Part of the exercises was exploring the truth
about the Armour of God and the significance and power that there is in
actively putting it on, moving as an army and declaring Gods truth.
This week’s video is just a small snippet from the day (a
full highlights video will follow shortly) that demonstrates the group exploring
the Armour of God and some of the movements they made up in response to various
aspects of the Armour.
One week on from the retreat and I have had the pleasure of
reading the rest of the testimonies, evaluations and trawling through lots of
photos and videos. So much happened for us to celebrate, in reality the photos
and videos really don’t do it justice. But hopefully they capture enough to
give you all an idea of the journey that went on.
We’ll never fully know the depth of how God worked in each
person, lots of seeds may have been sown, but when they choose to flower is all
in Gods timing.
We began the weekend exploring the Stepping Stones of truth,
specific things that God says to us from the Bible. Before moving on to put the
things behind us that can cause a hindrance and standing on Gods cornerstone. Other
areas we explored were, Gods love, praying, painting and moving, refreshing our
dry bones, wearing Gods crown, plaiting prayers into one strong strand. As well
as the opportunity to dance outside, around the centre and have quiet time in a
Another retreat is on the cards but in 2016, we hope you can
join us on that journey, but, before then enjoy this years highlights.
It’s Good Friday! Whilst working out what video I should do
for today, I couldn't quite make my mind up. I haven’t had the time to create a
dance that would give the meaning of today justice, and I also didn’t have any
spare footage that I could put something together with. Then I came across the
video below and I knew that’s what I had to include and talk about.
I find it amazing how people use technology to communicate;
yes sometimes we can be bound by technology and the need to always be on our
phones, tablets, computers etc. But also technology allows us to get a powerful
message across. As I watched this video I was curious as to who had made it and
followed the link to the Prayer Storm website.
I'm pretty sure I've heard of Prayer Storm before, but never
looked up any information about it. As I begin to have a nose around the sight,
I recognised that God was starting to speak to me. This week I've been offered
a job on the RAF Shawbury base as a sessional youth worker. Going back to grass
roots shall we say, and when I was telling a friend earlier in the week, she
spoke about how God brings us full circle sometimes.
I began in youth work and from youth work uC Grace began,
although I had always maintained contact with young people, the nitty gritty
youth work or meeting with a group of people week in and week out I hadn't done
for a long time. I have to admit I am bit daunted about going back into it, but
when that’s all that’s been given up here, I have to accept that God has a plan
Prayer Storm in a nutshell is a movement of radical worship
and intercession crying out to God for a great awakening in our City and Nation
(they are based in Manchester). They believe that intercession is more caught
than taught and their events act as a catalyst for young people to capture a
new zeal for prayer.
There is short video on there where James Aladiran talks
about how Prayer Storm came about and has developed since 2009. As I sat and
listened I was reminded about what I had written on the website about what my
heart was and why I was doing what I doing –
Anna's prayer is that people are impacted,
educated, and aware of the love God has for them, and that we can be a
passionate, creative, praying generation that seeks to serve God and eagerly
step out to do new things. For just, by one stepping out, it can create a chain
reaction for others to follow.
It made me smile, it made me really recognise
that God does bring things full circle, and the next season of my life and uC
Grace may involve young people more or it may not. But I am excited to know
what is ahead. Sometimes I get so caught up in life that I feel my prayers don’t
really happen, but the heart of it is that I will continue to be passionate
about prayer, passionate about dance and prayer, and passionate about
developing a generation that want to do the same.
When many of you put together dances for church, the
congregation that you will be sharing with are usually on the flat, so their
ability to view movements can be restricted, and it is useful to think of ways
that this could be alleviated. Whilst I recognise that this isn’t the case for
all churches, for the majority it is.
At the end of last year I headed along to one of Deo Gloria’s
rehearsals. Deo Gloria is an associate SEED of Living Colour, meaning it was an
established group before we were asked to come along and provide help and
guidance to those that were in it. This was initially a short term thing, but
we have had to privilege to stay part of their journey and join together on
many different projects and performances.
The particular week that I went along they wanted to
identify a different lift that they could incorporate into the dance. This was
not only to add a different layer to the dance, but to also offer something to
see for members of the congregation that were further back in the church and
may not be able to see all the movements.
We decided to work on a Tilt Lift (that’s not a technical
name, just a name that I have given it for ease of teaching) that concentrates
on the transfer of weight to achieve the lift rather than strength.
So let’s break it down how you could do it for yourself:
· - A = person on the left and B = person on the
· - Stand with your feet in parallel, hip width
apart and a natural bend in the knees.
· - Connect the inside hips.
· - A, take Bs right arm and place around shoulders,
then place your right hand on top.
· - A place left hand around Bs waist. B has the
option to reinforce that hold by placing their left hand on top of As left or
leave it free.
· - Both of you bend your knees further and transfer
your weight to the left side.
· - Then A, using the connection on Bs hip, the
inside hips, and stepping and transfer weight onto the right side.
· - Pull Bs weight sideways, give a gentle thrust of
the hip to the left, and the amount that you tilt your back helps the height
that B can go.
· - Be sure to control how your bring B down, try
and maintain a straight line and don’t drop them inwards.
· - Make sure B has completely landed before you let
go. The movement will generate a natural rock for A.
Things to bear in mind when doing the tilt –
· - B needs to use their core muscles to help A, and
make every effort to stay inline and not drop left shoulder and hip forward.
· - B should try bending their inside leg and having
their outer leg straight.
· - Bs left arm shouldn’t be an afterthought, take
it up into the air as you are tilted, along with the left leg, it will help you
to remain stable and generate more height.
The biggest thing to remember is to have fun whilst you are
doing it, use your core, bend the knees and transfer the weight. Getting into a
rhythm when you are doing it helps when you may be struggling to generate the
height on the lift that you wanted.
I had so much fun making this dance in March at the last
Living Colour SEED workshop. We were small in number but we decided to spend
some time looking at Ephesians 3.16-19 and celebrate the fact that no matter
where we are or what we are doing God’s love transcends all that is going on. What
made this dance so enjoyable was the lovely space that Hannah had got for us at
the university, high ceilings, large studio with mirrors, a fantastic opportunity
that we really took hold of.
Participants at the dance retreat will have opportunity to
learn this dance and get involved with moving and dancing in response to the
love that God has for us. Moving with a flag brings freedom, moving with flags
in a large open space where there are no restrictions gives even more freedom
than you realise.
Back in January we had the wonderful pleasure of teaching
our first training day, it seems a long time ago now, but it’s only now I am
having a chance to go over some of the lovely pictures and dancing that was done.
The training day was just a week after my operation, so it was with a grateful
heart that I had the wonderful Hannah Luke to help lead and demonstrate for me
The aim of the day was to give everyone lots of different
flavours of how they can generate new movement, or sustain old. We considered
the fact that part of growing and developing the skills and passion that you
have requires you to remain focused on the task as hand – moving and dancing
for God – moving as righteously as possible.
We explored ‘building blocks’ that help you create movement
quickly and easily when you get stuck, there were 4 specific areas we looked at
– working with the floor, jumping, travelling and linking movements together.
After this the focus shifted to how the participants could
devise movement using specific stimuli, this might be auditory, visual,
kinaesthetic, tactile or ideational. The participants decided on their
stimulus/ stimuli for their dance and created a motif. A motif is a sequence of
actions or movements which can be developed in different ways, they generally
consist of 6 basic actions; travel, balance/ stillness, jump, turn, gesture and
From this point the development of the dances were very much
up to the individual. We highlighted different choreographic devices – ways
that you could expand or change the movement you already whilst still keeping
the underlying motif – and encouraged participants to develop their motif
taking into account some choreographic devices.
This week’s Friday’s dance is highlights from some
participants dances, each one had meaning in their own right and was
interpreted and choreography differently. I’ve highlighted below what some of
the participants looked at. But remember, when you get to the brick wall, or dry
place and think you are just doing the same movement all the time, the simplest
couple of ways to change it initially is the level – so high, medium or low –
and the front or direction that is travelling in.
Lauren – Isaiah 43.19: “For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a path through the
wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Pam – as we go through stormy waters, there is a golden
thread from heaven, hold onto it as you go through tough times.
Diane – Proverbs 3.5-6; “Trust in the Lord with all your
heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in your ways acknowledge him and
he will make your paths straight.”
Crystal – Proverbs 3.5-6; “Trust in the Lord with all your
heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in your ways acknowledge him and
he will make your paths straight.”
Lizzie – Used a piece of material as a comfort blanket and
Psalm 34.18; “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are
crushed in spirit.”
Join us for next dance days –
Saturday 10th May –Moving with a Strong
Foundation @ Christ’s College, Larch Avenue, Guildford.
Saturday 13th September – Sharing a Passion,
Generating Creativity @ Soul Survivor Watford, Hertfordshire
To kick off the year in January our Living Colour SEED
workshop explored the theme of the vine and branches, how we are connected as
individuals and how we can be connected to God.
John 15.4 – Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch
can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear
fruit unless you remain in me.
Growing and developing with God requires us to be prepared
to be cut back, pruned and be willing to embrace and seek new beginnings. Part of
the workshop involved exploring how we can use each other as a support for
Participants thought about what place they would like to get
to with their faith or life, or how they would like to feel this year. The rest
of the group created a series of movements that enabled the participant to get
that place, or emotion, and then drew the participant into the image.
I wanted to encourage the participants that what they feel
or is going on in their life does matter and that people around them can
support them, and through that support you can grow closer to God.
In life we can’t just give up when it gets tough, you need
to keep pursuing, and be relentless about it.