Monthly Archives: September 2013

Gotta Dance!

Dance attracts big TV audiences these days. Both Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars generate loyal fan bases. Choreographers for ABC’s show have won Emmy awards. Many people find the graceful and energetic combination of movement, music, and lush costumes and sets captivating.

As for the celebrity dancers, almost all of the stars say that they have had little experience dancing prior to the show. They say that they are astonished by the transformation in their movements as they submit themselves to the teaching and guidance of their dance partners and teachers. Every newly dancing star has commented on the great joy they have found in submitting to the capable leadership of their dance partners. Beyond the immediate exhilaration of the dance, various stars have experienced beneficial effects on their overall health and sense of well-being.

The fascination with dancing piqued my interest in an anonymous short inspirational essay that made the rounds via e-mail. Having grown up a dancing Baptist also made me attentive to the helpful word play in the message. See how it strikes you:

Dancing With God

When I meditated on the word guidance, I kept seeing dance at the end of the word.

I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing. When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn’t flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky. When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another.

It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word guidance.

When I saw G I thought of God, followed by u and i.

God, u and i dance.

God, you and I dance.

As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings and mercies are upon you on this day and everyday. May you abide in God, as God abides in you.

Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and to guide you through each season of your life. Let’s continue to pray for one another.

And I hope you dance!

(Original author unknown)

Dancing with God is a marvelous image. Dance is such a primal expression of joy and life. Dance – at least dances in which two partners actually touch one another! – does require one to submit to the leadership of the other. Imagining God holding us in his arms, gently but firmly guiding our steps is a pleasant and helpful metaphor. It brings up several biblical images.

Of course, among the regular activities of human life, Ecclesiastes 3:4 reminds us that there is “a time to dance.” Israel’s King David celebrated bringing the Arc of the Covenant, containing the 10 Commandments, into the capitol as he “danced before the Lord with all his might.” (2 Samuel 6:14) Dance is included in the exuberant forms of praise to God enjoined in one of the most resounding Psalms:

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.

{2} Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

{3} Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,

{4} praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute,

{5} praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.

{6} Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. (Psalm 150 NIV)

Other more intimate images of dancing with God can be inferred from scripture. Basic to most dancing is holding and guiding or being guided by the hand. God assures us that his lead and his grip on our hand are always secure. Even when we are terribly uncertain of the “moves” that will carry us through God’s good path for our lives, God is supremely able to guide us: “I am holding you by your right hand–I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Do not be afraid. I am here to help you. {14} Despised though you are, O Israel, don’t be afraid, for I will help you. I am the LORD, your Redeemer. I am the Holy One of Israel.'” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NLT) While the dancing stars place confidence in their professional partners, we can rest supremely more confident in the sure guidance God gives us. David expressed his secure faith in the God who leads him in the uncertain steps of being king to God’s people, and a model for our relationship with God: “I am always with you; you have held my hand. {24} You guide me with your advice, and later you will receive me in honor. {25} I have no one in heaven but you; I want nothing on earth besides you. {26} My body and my mind may become weak, but God is my strength. He is mine forever.” (Psalm 73:23-26 NCV)

You gotta dance! The secret is taking hold of God’s hand – which is always extended to you – and letting him lead. (It does get pretty ugly when we try to lead, trying to get God to move our way.) Remember that Jesus often asked people (in different contexts) to “Follow me.” Our proper response is to follow his lead and to dance with abandon following his graceful guidance. Dance with praise to God. Dance in joyous expression of God’s good creation and lavish grace. Dance in close step with God, who holds you by the hand and guides you in sure and graceful new life, through faith in Jesus. Remember: G-u-I-dance – God, you & I DANCE!

– J. Edward Culpepper

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