The Cast of the Holy Dance:
God … Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
And a few others. Actually, many …
ALL of US.
Making An Appearance: (Building An Altar)
Genesis 12:1-9, 1 Peter 3:15
The Call of Abram
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.
9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.
Again, there was no curtain (veil) to open (it was torn). Yet, no dance is complete without a Curtain Call.
The entire cast, including the crew, returned to the stage for a final bow. Jesus was not with initially them.
In unison, they take a bow.
… the Star, the Lead, the Christ, the Messiah, the Shepard, enters!!!!
Dancing to the spot Front and Center, He turns.
It is one of the most beautifully, elegant turns anyone has even witnessed!
It is a pirouette that just keeps going, and going, and going!
EVERYONE wonders if it will ever end.
EVERYONE wonders how long He can continue without getting dizzy and falling to the ground.
A small child dances toward Him, having entered through one of the wings.
The child is carrying, in her arms, a Glorious Bouquet of Flowers.
Noticing the child, Jesus stops turning.
He gets down on one knee, accepts the gift that is so innocently, purely, and joyful offered, and …
… He winks!
Children love winks 😉
Jesus faces the audience and takes a bow, and steps back.
A new dancer enters the stage.
It appears he has been watching in the wings the entire time.
He walks boldly, confidently, as though he is on a mission to the spot on the stage where Jesus was previously turning, where Jesus knelt on one knee.
The new dancer has a name!
It is a name that was transformed years ago when he was still young enough to be a dancer on center stage.
His name transformed during that time from Abram to Abraham.
Abraham looks around, and taking his time, he makes eye contact with EVERYONE who is in the theatre.
He is not in a hurry at all.
Once he has seen the eyes of everyone present, and he is certain that he has the attention of ALL, he raises his right arm, extending it out toward the front, stage left, wing of the stage.
A PRESENCE, a MAGNIFICENT PRESENCE, a MAGNIFICENT PRESENCE that none, other than Jesus and Abraham have ever seen before, SLOWLY and GLORIOUSLY appears at Abraham’s right.
It’s the DIRECTOR of the dance!
Jesus steps forward and sits to the right of the PRESENCE.
The PRESENCE smiles and ALL fall down!
The stage has become an ALTAR.
The Altar of Sacrifice … His Sacrifice … Our Sacrifice
One in the same … for the Glory of God, the Father
ALL lay prostrate before the Lord, before the Altar.
I’m not sure if you have noticed but you have had a front row seat to a transformation.
Maybe we aren’t such slow learners (an identity I have frequently owned as truth for myself through the years) after all.
Years of learning the ways of the world — Years of unlearning the ways of the world.
Yet, in a moment, the dance begins.
Love is Patient!
This entire journey through Lent and Holy Week has changed me!
I pray it has changed you too!
I pray it has changed us!!!
It’s time to build an Altar.
Historically, this has been one of my weakest links.
I remember and then forget, I remember and then forget.
Hence the need for the Altar … the place of ‘Remembrance’.
Remembrance of where we have been.
Remembrance of Who we have met.
Remembrance of His sacrifice.
Remembrance of our call to sacrifice for ALL.
Let’s Keep Dancing!
Holy Lord God, thank You for waking US from our slumber.
How can we even begin to thank You enough!?!!?!
Your PRESENCE, Your PROVISION, Your ATTENTION to DETAILS! Your LOVE, Your CARE, Your OPEN ARMS of SACRIFICE!
We are humbled! We are grateful! We are FULL!
Thank You for the constant and continual invitation to join You in the dance.
Thank You for always making a way.
Thank You for BEING The WAY!
Prepare our hearts, transform our hearts, create in us a new and right spirit.
Hearts and spirits, in tune with YOU.
Hearts and spirits, following Your lead.
Hearts and spirits, open and free.
We love You, we trust You, we adore You, forever more.
We are Yours and You are ours.
In Your Precious, and Holy Name,
Amen and Amen.
Personal Note of Gratitude:
I think sharing the logistics of how I was able to experience God in a way that produced this devotional is worth sharing.
I know in the past (and likely again in the future) I have had the honor and privilege to get a glimpse of what God is doing in someone else’s life.
At times this gift led me to worship God and thank Him for what He is up to. At other times my response was to look at the journey He had me on in a way that compared my experience to theirs and either led to envy or pride depending on how I interpreted the comparison at the moment.
I urge you to resist any urge to compare your journey with mine unless it is in an effort to see God more clearly or learn something new.
Comparisons outside of that context are always fueled by pride and result in separation. One of the two being compared ends up being favored, thought of more highly. The other ends up being diminished or rejected. Neither place is in line with where God sees us.
You may notice places along the journey where you have traveled before. Be excited that I walked the same path and that you likely played a part in showing me the direction to it.
You may notice places where you have never walked.
If they are places you would like to walk, just take the next step. I’ll hold your hand and your heart if you would like. God will always do both!
If they are places that you are afraid to traverse, be patient. God will take you there when you are ready. His timing is so AMAZINGLY perfect.
Finally, you may noticed places that I totally missed or misunderstood. Will you lean in to guide me, walk with me, hold my hand and heart? Will you take the risk that is often included with washing my eyes with ‘mud’ and helping me see?
Or, maybe, like Jesus, just invite me to take your hand and wait for me to move closer.
I heard the invitation to transformation on the 1st Sunday of Lent when Pastor Lonnie so beautifully shared it, framed in the title of “The Opportunity”.
Alongside all of the other pieces that were shared in church that day, I pondered the invitation for a few days, spent some time a little disordered and unsettled about how God was calling me to experience Him during this time, and sought counsel from Leslie (our Founding Pastor).
I ended up choosing to dance with Jesus with very little clarity of what it would entail.
The morning of February, 28, 2021 was the 2nd Sunday in Lent.
That morning, before church began, Leslie and I had a brief conversation over the phone about some things that needed to be handled before the Sunday Service was to begin. (She wasn’t going to be there that day.)
At the end of the conversation, she asked, “How are you doing?”
My response was, “Jesus and I are dancing.”
With surprise at my wording (and I imagine a touch of wonder), she asked, “Have you talked to Lonnie about his sermon today?”
I had not and I said so.
She responded with something along the lines of, “Just Wait!” (Joy was shared through the phone. I was excited to see/hear/experience what was coming!)
A few minutes later, Lonnie arrived at church, and as is customary, he gave me his flash drive that included the PowerPoint presentation that would go along with his sermon. I plugged it into the computer to get it set up to display while he preached.
The title of his sermon was, “Let’s Dance !”
At some point that evening, while in the Mission House Apartment (the place I stay every Sunday-Tuesday to be available for Spiritual Direction, and any other needs that draw my attention), I was in conversation (prayer) with God and sensed God inviting me to spend the remainder of Lent (excluding Fridays and Saturdays so that I could go home to my love, my husband, each weekend) in the apartment and on the grounds of the church … Five More Weeks Remained!
With a bit of wrestling, yet not a ton, and with a surprisingly short conversation with Geb (my husband), I/we said, “Yes.”
The next 4 weeks of Lent included many highs and lows, many dances (literally & figuratively), many battles, prayers, and journal entries. There were many experiences of joy and sorrow, faith and fear, surrender and (what’s the opposite of surrender?) control (oh, CONTROL), God-centeredness and self-centeredness. (This list could probably go on but I imagine you get the point.)
During my 4th week of staying in as much constant contact with God as I was capable of doing, and meeting Him at the foot of the Altar every morning (well, almost every morning … I think I missed one ‘date/dance’), I felt the nudge, the call, the directive, the invitation, to dance with Him through Holy Week in the form of sharing the dance we had been dancing with others.
Hence, the birth of “The Journey to Glory: A Holy Dance for Holy Week”.
Please don’t look at me!
Unless it is in a posture of gratitude for being able to witness the hand of God working in and through me, please don’t look at me.
All that I have shared this week has come to me as gift and grace for His glory alone.
I am deeply grateful that you all chose to dance with me. I am deeply grateful for the love and care you all have so tenderly held my heart with.
I pray this window into the soul of one of your sisters in Christ has created an opening for you to dance more fully and more freely with our Lord and Savior.
And, next time you see me in the audience, would you mind reminding me to get back in the dance?
Finally, if you notice me in the wings, afraid to enter, would you risk giving me a little push so that I will come out of hiding?
It’s ok if I trip and fall as I make my way onto the stage.
Maybe you would be willing to give me a hand and walk me to Jesus.
With love and so much gratitude for each of you! — Jenn
- Comments on these devotionals are open and I would love to interact with you if you have something you would like to share.