I know some would say you
can dance without music, but
dancing without music is like
someone reciting the happy
birthday song to you instead
of singing it. The positive
energy and uplifting experience comes from within the song.
You can’t do the Texas 2 step without country
and western music. To properly head bang you
need to listen to some big hair band rock and
roll. Without the Village People there would be
no dance party fun of the YMCA and to enter
into the adventure of swing dancing you need
to not only listen to, but embrace big band jazz. While in seminary my wife Tricia and I, along
with other seminarians, took swing dance
lessons from our friend and award winning
poet Jill Alexander Essbaum. Jill’s proficiency
and gift of turning simple words into the
experience of poetry were transposed into
being able to turn the mechanics of a dance
step into a relational experience of the soul.
Private dance lessons would not have allowed
our souls to open up in the same way as our
group lessons; lessons that in the beginning
made us feel vulnerable, but in the end brought
laughter and a sense of wholeness with each
misstep and stumble. Tricia and I could have learned the mechanics
of swing dancing from a book, but to really
learn to dance we had to be in a learning
community and we had to actually show up.
We had to attend to dance... attendance was
vital. As Christians we are called to dance with God
through the music of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
We can learn the mechanics of this dance through studying the Bible, but simply learning
the mechanics doesn’t mean we’re actually
dancing. To learn to be in relationship and
dance with God, we have to first be in a
learning community and we have to actually
show up. We have to attend to dance...
attendance in worship is vital. Secondly, God created this dance we are
learning. We have to allow ourselves to be
vulnerable enough to let God lead. Thirdly, we have to realize that we will
sometimes try to take over the lead from God.
When we do we have to remember that we are
students of this dance and at times we have to
admit our missteps, dust off our wingtip shoes,
and laugh in God’s Grace.