Each step she takes, a whispered prayer, each twirl, a symphony of praise, her spirit soaring on the wings of faith, painting the heavens with her worshipful dance of authentic love for the Father.

Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night, I have the opportunity to be a buddy to Angel, a vibrant 8th-grade girl. During worship every Wednesday night, Angel and I make our way to a corner in the back because this girl loves to worship with her whole self. If I had to list five people who have given me a clearer picture of Jesus, you better believe that Angel’s name would be on that list. She has taught me about worship in the most beautiful ways.

Growing up with a dad who was a worship pastor and a mom who worked in children’s ministry, there were many things I knew about worship that Jesus used Angel to show me in my twenties. For example, I know worship is a posture of the heart. But Angel has shown me worship is a whole-body, whole-self, whole-life outpouring of the Spirit.

On Sunday mornings in 5•8, students are working on memorizing John 15. The way Angel and I love to learn Scripture is to read one verse at a time and draw what she thinks the verse means. She stopped me in my tracks one morning as we memorized verse four–

“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.”

She told me, “We aren’t the vine, Ruthie. That means we have to trust in God because He gives us everything we need to survive.” And of course, in natural Angel fashion, she gave a satisfied smile and went on drawing. But the Spirit spoke through this girl once again, reminding me that the vine I remain in will influence the fruit I produce. The True Vine never withers, never weakens, and never wants to be apart from us.

Our hearts were handcrafted to worship. We were designed to remain. These two form a dance as we begin to worship what we remain in.

Worship was not made to be reactionary to our reality. It’s what our heart was made to rest in. It’s a way we respond to the Lord in our reality, not what we think about our reality. We see this exemplified in nearly every Psalm as the psalmists worship God with everything, through everything. They worship boldly, meekly, routinely, and sporadically. Because God’s worthiness of worship outweighs the burden of our waiting, worry, or wandering.

Angel doesn’t authentically dance because her life has been easy. She dances because the Lord has been close to her in every chapter and has shown Himself to her in every season. She dances with unbridled joy. She has shown me that even just breathing can become worship as I find myself remaining in the One who has never failed me.

At Jesus’ table, there is a seat saved just for you, as you are, right now. He wants your every moment.

Dancing is worship. Inclusion is worship. Talking to students about hard feelings during the worship service is also worship– because worship might be structured, but it also may look a little more disruptive and expressive. Crafting, cooking, mowing, smiling, and walking can all be worship.

Everything is worship because it’s what our hearts were written for. The Holy Spirit speaks everyone’s language. Worship is for everyone.

So dance every once in a while because the Father delights in you.

Ruthie Bond

Ruthie is part of our Christ’s Church family and is a student at Ozark Christian College. She also serves as a buddy in our Special Needs Ministry.

Ruthie is pictured here with Angel Ingram on a Wednesday night in our 5•8 Student Ministry.

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