The Pondering Pastor

These "Ponderings" originally appeared as articles in our church newsletter or bulletin or just as the musings of one bald pastor. I place them here to encourage you, my fellow blogite and maybe to help us all in our pondering.

Friday, July 21, 2006

DANCING IN CHURCH


WHO WOULD OF THOUGHT THAT A MEN’S BIBLE STUDY would bring up a discussion surrounding the importance of dance in cultural settings in the two-third’s world, but it did. (See the men of our church do think deep thoughts from time to time.) Anyway, the discussion of dance began as we were chatting about what it means to be created in the image of God.

God’s image includes the reality of the Tri-unity of God. God from eternity past has dwelt in community. The very nature of God is communal, and that aspect of His being is reflected in His image in us. God created us male and female, and called us to live in relationship with each other. The image of God is more than just what is contained in a single person, rather it is more fully revealed in community, thus the importance of the incarnational aspect of the Body of Christ, the church.

The Early Church Fathers used the word “perichoresis (where we derive our word for dance, choreography) to describe the Trinity. It has been written, “One Christian tradition describes the nature of God as perichoresis, mutual co-inherence. Three people weaving their steps in a circular dance, each has different steps, each moves with the other, together they make an open beautiful pattern and invite others in to this dance of life.” If the image of God can be described as Dance, then possibly our “image bearing” should include that aspect as well.

The problem is that often within the church; our picture of dancing is somewhat askew. In our present culture dance is often done between two people, and is rather intimate. Though among our youth today, most dancing is a large group activity without the “dancing-with-your-date” ideas of my teenage years. The understanding of dance as a communal experience, often in regards to celebrating an event past or present, or the telling of a story, is foreign to most of us. Yet, this is the picture of the Dance, which is the Trinity and of what our relationship should be to one another and to God as bearers of His image.

What does all this mean for us as we seek to live out being followers of Jesus Christ, the Lord? It means that one of the most powerful ways for us to reflect the image and glory of God is through living together in community, to be woven together in the Dance. It means to live in rhythm with the movements of the Holy Spirit, all the while being careful of our own steps, so as to not step on others in the midst of the Dance. It is a life together, a movement of celebration and remembering. It is the story of God told in the movements of our lives.

Shall we dance?