Lord of the Dance: The Dance Goes On

Sunday’s Scripture ~ John 15:9-17.

This week we conclude our sermon series based upon Sydney Carter’s hymn The Lord of the Dance. In five verses this hymn sings the story to Jesus’ life – incarnation, disciple-making, facing adversaries, sacrifice, and resurrection. Carter’s final verse takes care to make us aware of our invitation to join Jesus’ dance. In verses one through four we observe Jesus dancing; in verse five he extends his open hand to us.

“I’ll live in you, if you live in me.”

I gain a sense of infinity when I sing that phrase. There is an infinite number of people that could join Jesus in his dance. And there is an infinite number of ways we could continue the dance with Jesus. These truths affirm the following for me:

There is wideness in God’s mercy.

There is great freedom in the ways we can demonstrate our commitment to the dance led by Christ.

Barbara Brown Taylor is a pastor and writer that I often turn to as I continue shaping my life of faith and pastoral craft. In one particular story she shares about a time of discernment with God as she prepared to graduate from college. She lacked certainty in her next steps…she sought confidence to continue in Christ’s dance. So she prayed. And God answered her in prayer, “Do whatever pleases you and belong to me.”

Wideness in God’s mercy.

Freedom in the ways we can demonstrate our commitment to the dance led by Christ.

How are you dancing with Christ? What objections or inhibitions do you have to joining Christ’s dance? By experiencing the wideness of God’s mercy and the freedom in how you can dance with Christ, in what ways are you doing whatever pleases you and belonging to God?

This is our invitation to eternity with Christ. “I’ll live in you, if you live in me. I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.”

Prayer: “They cut me down and I leapt up high, I am the life that’ll never, never die; I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me; I am the Lord of the Dance said he. 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.”* Amen.

*”The Lord of the Dance,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 261.

 

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FAMILY ~ Lead From The Heart

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Matthew 28:16-20

The final class standing between me completing my undergraduate dual religion and philosophy degree was Logic. And all I can say is this:

I wish I had taken a course in Logic before I took tenth grade Geometry. Proofs would have made SO much more sense.

For me the goal of solving any logic problem is arriving at the three dots in the shape of a triangle at the end of the problem. These three dots in the shape of a triangle represent the therefore that immediately precedes the logical consequence – or result – of the logic problem. These three dots in the shape of a triangle also mean the end of this logic problem is at hand!

Some logic problems are quite simple and therefore quite brief. Given that each of the following premises are true…

  1. All schnauzers are canines.
  2. Samson is a schnauzer.
  3. Therefore Samson is a canine.

Or

  1. All A are B.
  2. C is an A.
  3. Therefore C is a B.

Other logic problems, however, involve an entire soup worth of alphabet letters in order to get to the therefore.

For this reason logic equations always seemed a little one-sided to me. All the work was on the front end of the therefore. By the time I arrived at those three dots in the shape of a triangle, true, I was ready to execute my logical consequence…but that was where the work ended. The equation concluded. No more work was to be done.

In some ways Jesus provides an alphabet soup worth of letters before arriving at his Great Therefore – or Great Commission – in Matthew 28. As in logic equations, all our evidence, instruction, and examples precede the therefore. Teachings. Feedings. Healings. Miracles. Declarations that Jesus is God’s Son. Foretellings that Jesus will suffer, die, and rise on the third day. Witnesses to the resurrection.  And then we reach the long awaited therefore only to find the sequence continues.

Thereforego.

  1. Go and make.
  2. Go and baptize.
  3. Go and teach.
  4. Go and obey.

Not therefore go. as in we stop at the period that follows the o. Rather therefore go and actually go. Move. Respond. Serve. Do all of these things. And in doing all of these things – making, baptizing, teaching, and obeying – you will be anything but stationary and God’s Kingdom will be anything but stationary.

Jesus’ therefore leads into a consequence that calls us into action. Through our service we continue his service. Through our witness we strengthen his witness. This is a privilege. This is an honor. This is holy work. And this is our work.

Jesus has delivered his therefore. How will you live into your go?

Prayer: “Go, make of all disciples.” We hear the call, O Lord, that comes from thee, our Father, in thy eternal Word. Inspire our ways of learning through earnest, fervent prayer, and let our daily living reveal thee everywhere.”* Amen.

*”Go, Make of All Disciples,” The United Methodist Hymnal 571.