Last Saturday, I danced.
This was not my usual 'dance around the kitchen to a favourite worship song', but a workshop run by the Christian dance company Springs. It was a wonderful spiritual day expressing faith through dance. Despite the theme, Freedom, I’m not sure that we over-fifties were as uninhibited as some youngsters would be. However, the responses to the scriptures we studied and the meditations were up there with those of less mature years. And if we looked a bit clumsy or we didn’t know our plies from our chasses, it didn’t matter because our spirits were embracing the space in true worship to God.
Then the mood changed. We were to think of things that stopped us, or others, being free. We wrote some of these restraints down – being a psychologist I have worked with people who were bound by anxiety, depression, fear and other mental health problems. But added to those are sin, oppression, starvation, desperation, homelessness, rootlessness, materialism – there are so many, many ways we can lose our freedom, or never find it.
We dancers were asked to portray those barriers through movement. This was too difficult for one person and I disliked it, having to make it fictional, telling a story with my body, to manage it at all. It is a dreadful thing to take on another's pain, even if only pretending. With a sigh of relief, we refocused on freedom.
Today, the theme is still with me – I look at the birds and watch them soaring up into the atmosphere, doubtless using the air streams, but free, nonetheless. I remember my dog going crazy as I took her off the lead and she rushed across an empty beach and into the sea. And I am noticing my freedoms. How wonderful that I can worship my God, meet who I wish, go where I want, choose what I eat for breakfast, whether or not I do today’s 40 Acts. Okay, there are some boundaries and responsibilities, but when I consider the opposite, then I really appreciate that God has blessed me beyond measure.
Christ has set us free through his death on the cross. John wrote: "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
Let’s grab the freedom, enjoy it as God's gift, and proclaim this truth to the world.
Annie Try is the pen-name of Angela Hobday who is ACW Chair. She has written therapy books (as Angela Hobday) and is now writing fiction. Her novel, Losing Face, is published by Roundfire Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing.