God blesses community because He is community. God blesses family because He is family. It’s in the DNA of this church to know the importance of each member being part of a greater whole, the body of Christ. Where 2 or 3 are gathered, Jesus says, I will be in your midst. He didn’t say, for each person, I will be there, even though God is with each believer. No, at least 2 have to be there to form a community where Jesus dwells in a special way that is not possible when we are alone.
Practically, how does viewing life as a dance change our outlook regarding our Christian walk day to day?
First, simplify your life. Earlier this week, I had a brief panic attack. Jackie described my life a couple of months ago as a perpetual final exam and I said, No, it is only busy right now, but things will calm down. But as I looked at my growing To Do list, I began to have the sinking feeling that she was right. I am in Finals mode and I will be for the rest of my life. God keeps sending book after book my way and I am kicking myself, why didn’t I pay more attention in seminary? Why didn’t I read more of these books over the past few years? Now, I feel I need to cram so many things because I am trying to understand what does the bible say about church polity, or the Lord’s Supper or the family and marriage, many things that I didn’t really think too much about before. And so while I was having a mini-meltdown, I got a call from Elijah’s daycare person that she was sick so I had to keep Elijah at home all day and if you have watched Elijah, you know that it is virtually impossible to get anything done with him running around.
And I had a Trinity moment while I was strolling Elijah. He is so helpless. And he was sitting in the stroller which at the time seemed like a good metaphor for God’s love. The stroller holds him up and protects him and our sovereign God also holds us up and protects us. He had his crackers and sippy cup, which are like the body and blood of Jesus. Okay, Elijah is not old enough to be sipping wine and it wasn’t grape juice either so let’s say it was symbolic of Jesus as our living water. And then, there I am circling around him, orbiting around him, tending to his every need and steering the stroller — I am like the Holy Spirit. Okay, maybe it’s a stretch, but it reminded me that I need to sometimes put my To Do list aside and just let God love on me. God the Father — I need to know that He loves me and He is sovereign over everything that happens in my life and His church. God the Son — I need to be nourished by the person of Jesus, His sacrifice on the cross and His words. God the Holy Spirit — I need to let Him lead, I need to go to him for empowerment, for strength. In other words, I need to sit in the stroller of God. Maybe that is why Jesus is always inviting little children to Him.
So my conclusion — I need to simply my life. I don’t need to be anxious to figure things out all at once, as soon as possible. I can’t treat church and people like computer problems that need to be fixed. Only God can fix anything so I can try my best but I shouldn’t be dictated by tasks and programs. A broader application — we all have tasks that seem so pressing. How many of them are truly essential? Aren’t many of them superficial? Can’t most of them wait? Is anything more urgent than resting in God and getting recharged for kingdom service? We need to simplify our lives. That’s number one.
Second, Christianity is not an individual pursuit to be godly. In other words, it’s not a religion. These verses in Romans can read like a list of do’s and don’ts, but following rules is not the essence of Christianity. It’s possible to live by these ethical commands only as a byproduct when we are fully participating in the dance of God. God’s love for us has to fuel our ethics. Otherwise, we are going to beat each other over the head with spiritual regulations. And because we are sinners, religious-minded people will pile on the rules even beyond the ones we read in this chapter. Be wary of religion. That’s number two.
Third, be part of a community. Coming to church is not just getting goodies like singing praise and gaining insights from a sermon. You have to be an active member in community. How can you know God who is community unless you are part of a community?
Fourth, praise God thoroughly. Our prayer life has to be filled with praise, not just petitions. God is a community of beings who are engaged in self-giving love for one another. They are always honoring one another, deferring to one another, orbiting one another. God invites us to this dance of joy. We are rejoiced into being. This means, while it is easy to move out into the world, griping and being critical, we need to be deliberate about giving praise to God. And over time, this becomes second nature because God changes us into praising and affirming people. C.S. Lewis said praise is inner health made audible. Praise and joy is what life is all about.
Lastly, we need to be part of the dance of God. We will die apart from this dance. We are not the center. We orbit around God as He orbits around us. We surrender our lives to Jesus as He lays down his life for us. Jesus is the head, we are the body. Jesus is the Bridegroom and we are His bride. We are intimately connected. At the cross, we are pulled into the dance of God.
Simplify your life. Shun religion. Be part of a community. Praise Him thoroughly. Join the dance. And we do these things knowing that this world is heading for a party. We are bound for the interior life of the triune God.