Monday, November 14, 2016
I have always loved to dance, despite the fact that I've never been particularly good at it. For those of you from my area, you might can appreciate that at only 3 years of age, I was one of Sally Stanley's very first students. Whereas I loved it, I also wanted to take piano; and seeing that my body shape was probably more conducive to the latter, the summer I was entering 2nd grade, my uncle Bernie bought me my first piano and my parents signed me up for lessons with Mrs. Bedingfield. But I still loved to dance.
On several occasions, neighborhood friends and I would hold shows on my parents' front porch or in the carport. We performed skits (my friend Jeannie received a pie in the face) and told jokes, but there was always singing and dancing involved in the midst of it all. In fact, I specifically remember doing a dance number to Doris Day's "Que Sera, Sera." And on one such occurrence, "Miss Sally" herself was sitting in the crowd. I was very young. She was very gracious.
As time waned, so did the shows, but never my love for dancing. Unfortunately, my dance card never filled up. It seems I was always the last to be invited to the school dances, and even then it was often by the guy who had depleted all of his other choices. I even went with a distant cousin one time. I caught some grief for that one. Then my future husband came on the scene and not only did I have dates to the proms but I also got to go to his college dances! We still laugh at our different dance styles. And, yes, after I married him, we joined a local square dance club and literally danced circles around everyone else.
Today, most of my dancing is done through my fingers at the keyboard. Or vicariously through Dancing With the Stars which is the only show I have set to record on my DVR. And if truth be known, I can be caught twirling through the kitchen while I'm baking. Like I said, I have always loved to dance. My body tends to want to move when I hear a good beat.
Throughout the Scriptures we are told to "rejoice." The Psalms are particularly filled with such charges. But if we delve a little deeper into the true meaning of the word, we will see that it's more than just to be glad. The Hebrew is gyil which means "to spin round (under the influence of any violent emotion)." Wow, that's a lot different than just smiling and clapping our hands. Sounds a little bit like dancing to me.
But here's the cool part: whereas we are told over and over to "gyil in the Lord," there is a Scripture where God says HE gyils over us. Zephaniah 3:17 -- The LORD, your God ... will rejoice (gyil) over you with gladness..." Do you hear that? Our God twirls around over us in violent emotion. In other words, He passionately DANCES over us. How can we not get caught up in that kind of rejoicing? How can we not enter in to such a divine dance?
Yes, we are invited. Not as a 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice, but as His first. His desire is for you. For me. All of us. Fully accepted in the Beloved, with His name written on every line of our dance card. Why not accept the invitation to join in? Kick up your heels. Tap a toe or two. Move back and forth in rhythm. Or swirl violently. But know that regardless if you choose to or not, He's still dancing over YOU with much joy ... and a whole lot of wildness.
Just an ordinary moment...
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
The light tap on the door revealed my darling, young friend standing there with a warm loaf of bread in her hands. Laura Carroll. It's what she does. It's one of the many ways she loves me. She informed me that it goes stale fast; that I might want to slice and freeze it. But no need for that. Bread disappears quickly around here; especially hot, homemade bread. In fact, I had already had two slices before the dinner hour arrived -- and then another with my meal.
But by far my favorite partaking has been at breakfast. These last 2 mornings I have sliced, buttered and toasted a couple of small slices and brought them out here to my sunroom where I could enjoy them in the quietness of the breaking day. A candle is lit -- and breakfast becomes communion.
What grace. What gift. A young mother TAKES some wheat and mills it herself; BREAKING it. The BLESSING comes in her act of mixing, forming and baking. It's her spiritual act of worship. Her spiritual practice. Baking bread. And then she GIVES it, which just might be the hardest part of all. Sounds an awfully lot like Jesus to me. Like God.
Henri Nouwen wrote, "As the Beloved of God, my greatest fulfillment lies in being bread for the world. I am chosen, blessed and broken so that I might be given." Yes, that's my young friend.
Toast and coffee. Bread and wine. Communion. Just me and Jesus -- and Laura.
Just an ordinary moment...