Sacred Dance Journal – Volume 26‐3 1984
(Suzanne is a member of SDG from Harpersville, Alabama. Her interest and expertise: Clowning, Drama, Storytelling, and Dance the Carousel: Moving Into Prayer—Discovery through movement and prayer: Is That You in There? – the art of the clown: Bring Your Own Rainbow— drama and storytelling; “The Spirituality of Jesus, a right‐brained Bible Study”; Three Special programs for youth.)
Come on… jump in! Immerse yourself completely in the scriptures. This fascinating way of studying the Bible can lead to life changing insight, but you have to be a bit daring….let go of preconceived ideas, take off the heavy clothing of irrationality, for it will surely weight you down. Sink into the bubbling waters of intuition and imagination, trust your insights and enjoy the creative energy of God.
When we move into the scripture, the Word of God is ever new, ever changing and consistently revealing and challenging us to new life. Study of the scriptures in this way reveals no right or wrong answers. It reveals experience of God. It will help us to embrace the ever present mystery of God.
How do we begin? First, choose a passage of scripture, an event, a story, a parable. Read the passage at least three times. The first time, you will undoubtedly recall a former interpretation of the passage. Try just to listen to the passage. It will help to read it aloud. On the second reading, sense the setting…are you in a garden, by the sea, in the marketplace? … who else is there? …do you know the time of day? …can you place the time in history? The exact answers to these questions are unimportant. Simply have a sense of the setting. On the third reading, find yourself in the scripture. With what character in the story do you most easily identify? It may be a rock or a tree. How do you feel in this situation? Now, let go or the character with which most closely identify and purposely choose another character…another perspective. Looking at the situation from another perspective, you will experience the insights and different feeling. In any passage of scripture, at any given time, you are probably there in more than one character.
Sometimes it is helpful to simply be an observer…one not mentioned in the scripture…someone looking on at all the characters. Sometimes is helpful to be God…Jesus…the Holy Spirit. What is God’s perspective? Most importance is that you literally are in the scripture in the first person. If you are looking from God’s perspective, imagine how you would feel if you were God, and say “I feel……”
Perhaps a specific example will give you a starting place. Read the account of Moses and the burning bush in Exodus 3:1‐4. Read three times, following the instructions given earlier. On the third reading, any of us would most quickly identify ourselves in the scripture as Moses. At least, we would probably start with the perspective of Moses. If you are Moses…how do you feel? What draws you back to the burning bush? Why did you walk by and hardly notice bushes – events, people, opportunities – that you are presently missing in your life. Why? Are there others walking with you? If there are others, how do they affect your attitude about the bush? If there are no others and you are alone, how will you tell others about your experience later?
How, look from a different perspective…perhaps that of the bush itself. How do you feel when Moses walks on by? Are you aware that you are ablaze? What effect does that have on you? How do you feel when Moses returns for a closer look?
Look now form the point of view of those who might have been traveling with Moses. How did you feel and react when he turned to go back? Where you impatient with him, or perhaps, curious ? Perhaps, in your understanding, Moses was alone, but you are one of these people he chose to tell about his experience. What do you think of feel when he tells you, and how do you react?
And now, take God’s perspective. How do you feel when Moses hardly notices the bush? What do you do about it? Why do you wait until he comes closer before you talk to him? Why didn’t you just call out to him the first time he went by? But, he did come closer. What is your feeling now?
You will find much richness and depth in this kind of study of scripture. When open the door to our intuitive side, we take a step towards wholeness and awareness. We allow the Word… the creative energy for God to move us.
We can gain even deeper insight be literally moving into the scripture. Take your new perspective into the realm of creative dramatics… become the characters of the story or event you’ve chosen. Put yourself into action. This can be done in a group with various people taking the various perspectives, or you can assume each role yourself. First, deal with the story in its own Biblical setting, then up‐date…bring it into your own present time experience.
Dancers and dramatists will find this kind of Bible study a rich, unending resource for choreography and script material. Give yourself plenty of time to develop your perspective before setting your movement. Trust your insights and allow them to move you. Look for the meaning within the word as well as the meaning of the words. Look for feeling and emotion and energy. Search out underlying humor. The more you relax, the more you will enjoy the deep waters of this kind of study.
Come on…..jump in! The water’s fine!