Shut Up and Dance
The season is finally beginning to change. Day after day after day of grey, sunless light bleeding through clouds is at long last giving way to bright rays streaming in their full splendor, calling to life the grass and trees and flowers.
It comes so slowly sometimes, but spring never fails to arrive.
I listen to music seasonally. Not just certain songs at Christmastime (like most people) I have songs for all seasons. I can’t get enough of Alanis Morisette, Caedmon’s Call and The Spill Canvas in the fall, nostalgic and emotional, but outside of that season their songs rarely grace my playlists.
Spring is about life and joy and FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING IT’S WARM AGAIN!
The playlist for this season stretches from intricate, light notes picked out on acoustic guitars, to raucous dance anthems fit for beachfront parties and sorority spring breaks.
I was blasting the latter on my way to work on Monday morning.
“Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me
I said you’re holding back
She said SHUT UP AND DANCE WITH ME!“
And like waves washing over me, I was struck with the unshakable impression:
“it’s like this.”
Are we really doing this right now? Are we having a moment to “Shut Up and Dance With Me?”
(It wouldn’t have been the first time God had shown up in a pop song, but I’ll never stop being surprised by it.)
For as long as I can remember, I have found myself in the midst of the Christian faith tradition. I grew up trying to understand and learning to love God, but only recently have I begun to explore how God’s very nature and essence – as Triune God (God Three-in-One) changes so many of the ways I approach life and being.
I grew up learning metaphors like “God is like water, which exists in liquid, solid and gas.” or “God is like an egg, with a shell, yolk and white.” The problem with all of the analogies though, is they inevitably fall short (at best) and slip into ancient heresies, misrepresenting the beauty and mystery of God (at worst).
When the early church fathers and mothers were trying to communicate what the Trinity is, they used the analogy a dance. The term they came up with was perichoresis . The Greek word peri is where we get modern English words like “perimeter”, and chorea words like “choreography.” Perichoresis in the Greek means “the dance around.”
God, in very essence, is a Divine Dance. The weaving in and out, giving and taking, loving and serving, of God Father, Son and Spirit.
And not only is God dancing, but I also – as someone submitted to the authority of this Triune God – am bound up in this never-ending Divine Dance. Imprinted with the image of Creator, wrapped in the gracious wounds of the Son, and indwelled by the Spirit.
And not only am I bound up in this dance, but so are you.
And so is anyone who wishes to join the dance.
The veil is torn.
The doors are open.
And the party has started.
So often we get caught up in the dialogue, the wrestling out and working through of ideas. While there is certainly a space and a place for that, we can also get caught inside our own heads and hearts and Church buildings arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong, and what this passage means given the history and context, and what color the carpet should be.
On Monday, God broke in to my own brain-full-of-thoughts and yelled:
SHUT UP AND DANCE WITH ME!
Don’t look back.
Sure, the ways you failed yesterday are still there. The problems of the past don’t just go away, but if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder you miss the beauty happening in front of you.
Keep your eyes on me.
Because no, God didn’t leave an instruction manual. God put on flesh and drew close to show us the way to live and love. God in the very human form of Jesus Christ gave us a face and hands and arms and feet and scars and confrontations to help us see and know what this Divine Dance looks like with skin on – because He (in fact) has skin on.
Shut up and Dance!
Just for today. What if we stopped “contending” for words and started dancing with the Divine – the dance we’ve been invited to all along!
I wonder if God looks on the whole of creation and sees a scene much like a middle school dance. A beautiful space, good music, everything prepared and set; yet so many of us are standing in the corner, paralyzed by our own concerns for our own image and bound up in the fear of rejection…
…and missing the whole point.
So shut up.
Keep your eyes on the Divine who is and was and will always be dancing.
Then, whether cautiously or with abandon,
join in the dance.