Many times, I’ve heard the Christian journey referred to as “The Dance.” I’m guessing you have as well. I love that metaphor. It captures a lot of what we do as we move with Jesus in this life.
When we’re just learning to dance, we have two left feet (maybe two right ones—not sure why we always pick on the left ones). If we keep at it, we gradually improve as we go along. We begin to glide with the music provided by the Lord. Eventually, we don’t think as much about our feet as we do our Partner and his song.
A different beat…
People who dance to the music of the Lord hear varying tunes and different lyrics. The beat is seldom the same and the ebb and flow occasionally seem out of sync. Our individual dances are like snowflakes (you know—no two alike).
So we dance and learn to follow Jesus. Occasionally we try to take the lead, but it never works out. If we’re paying attention, we’ll get back into step with what the Savior is doing. But always, the music is there to enjoy, rest in, and be inspired by.
Another side of the dance is that many people don’t hear the music. Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” That one really hits home. How many people do you know who believe you’re at least a little weird because you journey with Christ? Probably more than you think.
It seems to me, however, the dance itself must attract some folks. They see us swaying and don’t quite get it. Still, there’s something they find alluring in the movement. Something draws them to the place (whatever that may be) where they begin to hear the music themselves. Then they too are supernaturally scooped up by the Savior’s arms and carried away by the melody of his call.
Years ago, Calvin Miller wrote a book entitled “The Singer.” That tome enthralled me. I was only twenty-five years old when it hit the scene, and I haven’t thought about it in years—until just now, in fact. It was a poetic narrative about a Singer whose song could not be silenced. That book helped me learn to dance.
“Dance like nobody’s watching.”
Then there were songs like “Lord of the Dance.” They reminded me who was doing the singing and why I should dance to his song. There were always new steps to be learned and new revelations to help me learn them.
When I was a kid, it was always a big deal to invite someone to a dance (this time I mean a literal dance). It was mysterious and exciting to do so. Others anxiously awaited an invitation.
That’s how it should be with our spiritual dance. Over the years, many of us lose our zeal and choose to be wallflowers. I think it’s time to take another twirl around the dance floor.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]