Dancing

I know nothing, except what everyone knows. If there when Grace dances, I should dance. 

-W.H. Auden

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I have known of Auden’s quote for many years now.  My mentor when I served with Christian Reformed World Missions would quote it frequently.  I always thought it was a cute quote and it hasn’t been until recently that I began to understand just how important Auden’s perspective is.

The church I serve as pastor is seeking to find ways to be a transformative church in our local community.  We, like thousands of churches scattered across North America, want to reach our community.  We dig through books with countless strategies.  We send staff and volunteers to myriad conferences.  All with the purpose of finding the secret to ‘outreach’.  We treat ‘outreach’ like it is a complex code that must be broken down systematically by experts.

At Visalia CRC we are finding that the truth about outreach is that it isn’t advanced trigonometry.  It is far simpler.  It is so simple that four year old children do it all the time just to torment their older siblings.  The answer is “copy-catting.”  We are learning to ask, “Where is the Holy Spirit working in our community?”  Or in the words of Auden, where is God dancing?  Once we have answer to that question then we just have to ask, “How can we join the dance?”  Or, “How can we copy it?”

I remember my first High School dance.  It was awkward.  The music started and the dance floor stood mostly empty.  Only a few of the upper-class kids danced.  My friends and I clustered around the outside of the floor in a small group.  All of us trying to ignore the reason we came to the dance, which was, shockingly, to dance.  For nearly half the night we talked about dancing, but we didn’t actually dance.  I was terrified of looking like a fool, of demonstrating my total lack of rhythm.   But then a girl pulled me out onto the floor.  I danced.  It was fun! It was easy.  Don’t get me wrong, I was a TERRIBLE dancer.  But dancing was easy because I was joining a dance, not starting one.  I was becoming part of something that had a life of its own.  

The Holy Spirit has begun its dance in creation.  The Kingdom of Heaven is here said Jesus.  It is not something we have to start or build.  It is here.  God’s grace is found in the nooks and crannies of our society as well as the big and the grand.  We the church can stand on the sidelines and talk about starting to dance.  But really, the dance has already begun.  It has a life of its own, God’s own rhythm.  By joining the dance His life pulls us into the rhythm.  All we have to do is copy-cat Him.  Let Him lead.  

The questions we must repeatedly ask in our churches is, “Where is God working (dancing) in our city? And how can we join in?”  Because, if Grace is dancing we’re gonna want in.  That is one Heaven on Earth of a Party!

 

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6 thoughts on “Dancing

    • As far as I know that is the full quote. Hey as you head out on your sabbatical to Nicaragua you seriously need “Geography of Grace” by Rocke and VanDyke as your companion book. It will give you the language to dialogue with Joel Huyser and the awesome stuff they do at the Nehemiah Center and the EdT ministries that are going gang-busters in that country.

    • Thanks Louise. Here at my church by asking that question about where God is dancing we have been able to get involved in some exciting things just by joining in. It is a relief to realize God does the work already, we are just called to join the fun. My mentor also talked a lot about churches and Christians needing to adopt a “community as playground” mentality rather than “community as warzone” mentality.

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