Do you dance? I mean, I’m guessing the Baptists (most of them, though there are lots of varieties) would say ‘no,’ of course. But I really was thinking about it earlier today. I prayed something with others around about hoping we had made you smile or whatever the closest thing is to smiling that you do. And then later tonight it hit me again. I thought “God will be dancing over this one” and then I thought – “How does God dance? Good grief, does God dance?”
So, I’m taking my question to the source. Do you dance? Is this one of those things like “thunder is just God and the angels bowling” and I should think up more poetic explanations and answers like “Every sunset is God dancing” or “the wind in the trees is a holy two-step”? I don’t know; somehow I feel like there’s something more majestic to be learned or observed or wondered here.
I understand that you are not corporeal (but for your incarnational self in Jesus Christ). There’s something, then, that makes me grieve for you. I love to dance. I wish I danced more. I wish I danced with more confidence. There are times, though, when as unforgiving as I am with this body you gave me (which I doubly treat poorly – cultivating both bad eating and exercising habits, then turning around and criticizing my body for that), I catch a glimpse in the mirror as I dance around folding laundry and putting it away and think “I LOVE DANCING!” I like how my body can do things to rhythm, how the form I take can somehow make the music mean more. I’m no ballerina, but when I take ballet classes, my body puts movement to melody in a way that feels extraordinary. Do you know what it is to dance if you don’t have a body? Do you feel movement as the earth turns, the rhythm of seasons, the form of cold fronts as well as spiritual formation of hearts, minds, and bodies? Do you feel me dance?
If so, I will dance for you. I will dance for you as long as you let me, as often as I have strength. I’d hate for you to miss out on dancing.
OH, MY GOD. How silly of me! Of course… I hear you in my head, singing a song I have danced to many times. I danced to it on many Easters past – sometimes with crepe paper and popsicle stick streamers; I danced around the San Antonio district parsonage as a little girl with a little Maggie – yarn offerings flowing behind us; I sang it to Jack in those first few weeks where I had so much time alone with him in the wee hours, soothing him and doing that newborn dance that sways back and forth; truly, my heart dances each time I hear the song again. You are my God, and you are the Lord of the Dance… “I danced in the morning when the world was begun,/ and I danced in the moon, and the stars, and the sun./ I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth./ At Bethlehem I had my birth./ 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.
If that is so, I will dance for you, and I will dance with you. Rachel always made me be the boy when we danced, so I’m terrible about leading whenever I dance now; it will be quite the relief to let you lead in the dance. And so we come full circle to another prayer from earlier today: I am sorry for the ways I try to control, for the ways I get in the way.
Lead me; I will follow. Let’s dance.