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Sunday, March 28, 2021

Socially Distant Easter Dance: In the Bulb There Is a Flower

A angular sketch of
Tom Vetter's Flower in the Seed labyrinth
in prep for a large outdoor installation.
Early last week, I was starting to settle some ideas for the outdoor Easter Sunrise service the current congregation I serve has every year.  (Except last year, my first year with them.  Last year, we suspended it because it was the first month of pandemic life and we didn't know what we didn't know...)

One of the traditions I heard was the use of Natalie Sleeth's 1986 strophic text "In the Bulb There Is a Flower."  (New Century Hymnal #433)

Singing with other people during this respiratory pandemic honestly gives me the willies.  It's not quite rational and I'm sure some of it has to do with the ways that some of my ancestors have been tricked and hurt by oppressors.  Beside that, I'm interested in reducing paper waste and embodying our songs.  It didn't take long for the germ of an idea to bloom into something fully formed (ahem) that could be used for all verses ... and guide our social distancing.  :)

Here's the write-up: 

  1. Start standing with your feet together and your hands over your heart. (Folks do not have to be in a circle.)
  2. Over the first two bars (In the bulb there is a flower), slowly stretch your right hand up and out.
  3. Over the next two bars (in the seed, an apple tree), slowly stretch your left hand up and out.
  4. Next two bars of the second line (in cocoons, a hidden promise), lift your right foot and plant it down under your right shoulder.
  5. Over the next two bars (butterflies will soon be free), do the same with your left foot.  
  6. Over the next four bars (In the cold and snow of winter, there's a spring that waits to be), turn slowly over your right shoulder in awe and amazement of the transformations that happen all around you.
  7. Then over the last four bars (Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see), slowly bring your arms back in and hands on your heart again. 
My current plan is to introduce this during our welcome to the service as part of our socially distant guidelines.  Then when it's time in the service order, I'll have some of my strong singers sing, masked, and invite folks to hum along as we remember the motions and then sing the song with our bodies.  

We don't have a video of it yet.  If you end up using it and capture a video, do share it with us!  

Please credit Ms. Sleeth if you use her words and melody.  It is covered by OneLicense if your congregation has a subscription. Please source Points of Light Music with the movements and point folks to this page if you can.  

Thanks!  And enjoy being "something God alone can see"


UPDATE:  Here's a video of our Easter Sunrise service.  Jump to the 20-minute mark to see the dance!



Tinyurl:  https://tinyurl.com/PromiseDance

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