Mirror Ball Kids Disco
I must admit dancing has never been my thing and ‘Strictly’ is certainly not my favourite Saturday night viewing. Although Angela, my wife used to comment that when as Musical Director of the Exeter Male Voice Choir, I used to conduct as If I was John Travolta on stage.
Dance has long been part of scriptural tradition, particularly when connected to the Worship of God. We read “Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.” (Exodus 15:20) Whilst the Psalmist who had been in the pit of despair was able to claim, “You turned my mourning into dancing;You peeled off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent.O LORD my God, I will give thanks forever.” (Psalm 30:11-12)
In the New Testament Jesus makes an interesting comment about dancing with the remark, “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.”
The Lord had always wanted to shower his people with favours and with gifts. But often when the offer was made (through the mouth of his messengers, the prophets), the peoples turned their backs. In fact even as Jesus would have been preparing to begin his public ministry, this was still happening - they refused the message of John the Baptist. So it was no surprise that Jesus himself began to meet opposition. In the words of Sydney Carter.
I danced for the scribe and the Pharisee,
But they would not dance and they wouldn't follow me;
I danced for the fishermen, for James and John;
They came with me and the dance went on:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance, said he,
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the dance, said he.
The children playing in the marketplace might have seemed a trivial distraction to many but to Jesus they offered an image of life. Perhaps I can take time to notice the small things in my life - the incidental happenings - and listen to what God may be saying to me in them and perhaps it’s a question of my heart dancing to the tune of God’s love.
Lead me in the dance of life, God. Turn my heart towards you as I follow your lead into places of grace. Attune my ear to the music that hums beneath the surface of my thoughts and activities. Give me a lithe spirit that moves with the flow of love and grace. May I find joy in the dance that is my life. With you as my partner and guide, I pray. Amen