A dance as an expression of prayer
The Church of Vietnam is still known today as young, vibrant and dynamic, yet it has suffered greatly under six reigns of Vietnamese kings during three hundred years of persecution. We cannot count all our martyrs, who died because of their faith in Jesus Christ. We wondered if the fire of faith had been extinguished with their ashes. No! This faith received, lived, transmitted from generation to generation is a grace that God gives to the Vietnamese people.
As Christians, we have great joy in celebrating God and singing his praise in every moment of our lives. Art helps believers to express their faith in God; yes, artists and their works play an important role in the faith life of the faithful. Art helps to pray, worship, perform acts of faith and spread that faith. Our prayer can reach its peak if it is accompanied by music, song, drawing, dance, and other works such as icons, painting, sculpture…
God is praised, honoured and venerated in a special way in the liturgy, because the liturgy has a considerable aesthetic dimension. We Vietnamese love to sing, to flower the church during celebrations and prayers; we love to do religious dances and signed songs dedicated to the Virgin Mary to express our prayer and love to her.
If singing makes it possible to pray with the heart and head, “who prays twice” said Saint Augustine, then a dance or a signed song makes it possible to pray with the whole body, in harmony with the words and music, while respecting the sacred nature of liturgical celebrations. Through dancing and singing we express our prayer, our Christian joy and give glory to God.
Maria Bui Cam Nhung, Little Sister of the Assumption in Vietnam