How can I keep from dancing
In my last column I asked you to think of the many ways the Lord dances with us. Anya’s song “How Can I Keep From Singing” sent the dance metaphor re-echoing in my heart: “My life goes on in endless song…
I hear its music ringing
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?
A song in the heart sets the spirit dancing! . Sunrise, sunset! Sunrise, sunset! Fiddler on the Roof tells us our years pass swiftly, but our hearts can be light. “Happy on the mountain are the feet of the one who brings good news” Isaiah 52:7.
Remember the feelings of exaltation after a great Sunday service, and how you wished you could share that feeling with all the world, especially with those you love? That is dancing with the Lord.
In Nigeria and other African cultures the faithful literally dance and sing in joyful worship. That is often after walking many miles to church. That is dancing with the Lord.
I remember my daughter’s wedding and the moment her father-in-law finally got to speak after all the other addresses and formalities. He sent a loud “Awwwhhh!” through the microphone. And everyone felt his joy and pride, and our hearts were dancing.
I thought of times in the life of Jesus when he was dancing. When he walked on the Sea of Galilee, shortly after his miracle of feeding 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes, Jesus invited Peter to dance with him on the water, metaphorically.
Then there was the transfiguration! The joy of the moment was so great Peter asked if they could construct three tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. The Father was leading that dance. “This is my son, the beloved. Listen to him.” (Mark 9:1-8)
Then we have our favorite heroes like the Olympian Eric Liddell who said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.” Now that is dancing with God – using our talents for the good of all.
Not that we have to succeed in winning earth’s medals. Liddell said, “In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.”
And he said further, “It has been a wonderful experience to compete in the Olympic Games and to bring home a gold medal. But since I have been a young lad, I have had my eyes on a different prize… this race ends when God gives out the medals.”
There is a wonderful new version of “Footprints”, the story of the traveler of life who looks back and sees two sets of prints where Jesus walked with him during his life. At some points there is only one set of prints and the traveler thought Jesus had abandoned him. “No,” Jesus says. “that’s where I carried you.”
At the end of your life, in this new version, occasionally the footprints zigzag all over the place. There are stops, starts, and gashes in the sand. A veritable mess of prints. You are amazed and shocked. The Lord explains, “You didn't know? It was then that we danced!”