GETTING TO THE DANCE PART
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Psalm 150:4
How comfortable are you at the thought of dancing before the Lord? Our answers will differ according to our denominational affiliation and history.
In scripture though, a ‘dance’ is referenced many more times than the way it is in this Psalm.
For instance, when the creation of the world is described, the interaction between the God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is described as a continual slow dance. They move within their unity with grace, joy, and precision. I was also surprised to discover that something the Apostle Paul wrote connects to the idea of a dance. Here it is. Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. I Thess. 4:12 I miss a lot of the meaning of scripture once it is translated from Greek to English. Unless I become adept enough in my Bible study skills to do some word studies, I’ll never know I passed over something golden. So Eugene Peterson, in THE MESSAGE, translates Paul’s verse this way. “One final word, friends. We ask you ~ urge you is more like it ~ that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance.” I love this! Having lived for decades in a religious prison camp, I was overjoyed to discover that there was another way of life in Christ. Dancing surely describes it.
When I choose to learn a new skill, it seems like it is all work. It is not natural for me to perform it. The thinking and coordination it takes to accomplish it can feel daunting. I fear I’ll never master it. Practice is the key because once it becomes second nature, the joy kicks in.
So it is with God’s instructions and my obedience. When I first decided to follow in His footsteps, it was like walking in foreign territory. It was all struggle on my part; impartation of grace on His. At some point, the practice began to pay off. Now, I wear some of His ways like a second skin. I no longer have to harness every inclination. I more fully understand the ways of Jesus and find that practice makes them a part of me.
I know, in part, what Peterson speaks of in his paraphrase today. Oh, to dance with the labor part behind me! To no longer have to look at my feet and think over every move means that I can close my eyes and enjoy the waltz.
Help me not lose heart today, Lord, over things I’m still learning. One day, doing it will feel like breathing. In Jesus’ name, Amen