Thousands of years have been leading up to this week and yet by the time Resurrection Sunday arrives, we see that no one (except maybe Mary, the Mother of God) had a clue as to what was happening.
Instead of recalling thousands of years, maybe we should just focus on the past few weeks.
Pastor Lonnie was given a beautiful sequence of Words to share with us that have provided a firm foundation for the Holy Dance we have been dancing with Jesus. The dance He longs for us to keep dancing. The dance that leads to Victory over Sin & Death.
Oops, I may have just told you the climax of the dance. Oh wait, you already knew that, didn’t you?
(You’ll find all of the sermons leading up to this week on our YouTube Channel.)
A dance often begins with an invitation to dance. At the beginning of lent we received just that! First, our eyes were opened to the opportunity that was before us. An opportunity to join the cast of the Holy Dance by entering the desert and being transformed. An opportunity to come out as a different person than the one who went in.
The invitation spoke boldly: Let’s Dance! It also declared that it would be a Holy Dance. No auditions were to take place. All were welcome.
The promise was (is) that it would be a joyful dance. A dance where Jesus holds on to us and we hold on to Him.
New dance steps to be learned? Almost certainly.
Worth the struggle to learn them? Absolutely.
All we have to do is continue to show up and accept His hand. He promises joy, grace, love, and finally, glory.
As part of the cast, we practice and rehearse.
We watch the dancers that have gone before us. We study their steps, their every move. We are amazed at how in step they are with the One who is leading them, the One who holds His hand out. We realize that we were created for this dance and that we were created for greatness. We realize that we were invited to participate for a specific purpose and continuing to dance will most assuredly lead us to that purpose.
We find that we often need to be reminded of His Zealous Compassion. Without fail and without hesitation, He is compassionate and patient as we learn the new steps of the dance. He promises that as we hold on to Him, He will transform not only the way we dance but also our love for the dance. It will be a joyful dance!
Old habits that have shaped the way we dance are being transformed into new grace-full habits.
Are we loosening our grip, our grasping, our fear?
Are we letting Him lead?
Are we dancing with faith: “anchored to Love, tethered to a sustaining God, unshakeable in our unshakeable goodness?”
Finally, after having struggled through practice and rehearsals, after having ended many days exhausted from the long hours of getting it and then forgetting it, of seeing it and then losing it, of trusting and then falling back to fear, finally, we see that the dance is quite simple.
It’s a Love Dance.
Finally, we see that the whole process of getting ready for the Holy Dance is also holy.
Finally, we see that God loves us and are hearts are full as our love for Him and our love for the other dancers begins to grow. We are ready.
And so, without further adieu, the curtains are set and ready to open for the live performance. Everyone is dressed. We have completed all rehearsals. The lights are dim as the cast (you and me … us) takes the stage. Here we go … “Break a Leg”.
The Cast of the Holy Dance:
Jesus ………………….. Lead Dancer/Star/King/Messiah/Son of David/Christ
Disciples …….…….…….. Learners/Instructors
Crowd ………………..…… Participants
Audience …………………. Spectators
Religious Authority…… Chief Priests/Teachers of the Law
Act 1: The Triumphal Entry (Palm Sunday)
Matthew 21: 1-11 (Also found in Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19)
The curtains are drawn and the stage is full of dancers.
The scene is located in Jerusalem and there is an air of excitement throughout as the dancers mingle with one another. As rehearsed, they are waiting in anticipation of the arrival of the lead dancer, the Star of the show.
The crowd was there to celebrate the tradition known as Passover. It was a meal shared in Jerusalem by the Jews in remembrance of “how the angel of death ‘passed over’ the houses of the Israelites during the tenth plague of Egypt” (1).
The disciples were there to usher in the King, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
Sometime along the way they had all been told “Your King comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey” but they had forgotten that. They expected Jesus to come riding on a horse. However, when He entered riding a donkey (different from how they had rehearsed), it really didn’t faze them. They went on as expected making a way for Him to come through, spreading their cloaks on the road, and waving palm branches as they shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
The audience was not quite sure about what was happening in the opening scene. They murmured to one another asking, “Who is this?”
Sensing the uncertainty, the dancers all turned and faced the audience. In unison they answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee. He is the Star of the show.”
Everyone exits the stage.
All dancers expected the arrival of Jesus to look different than it actually did. For years He had been instructing His disciples and laying the groundwork for this dance. All truth had been spoken. They had almost everything they needed to continue the dance without His physical presence and even begin instructing others in the steps. At this point, they didn’t realize that it would only be a few more days that He would be with them but He knew.
Jesus was on a holy mission and in this final earthly dance He was going to make a way for all who accepted the invitation to dance to dance freely, fulfilling the very meaning and purpose of their existence, glorifying the One who sent Him. All of the dancers were in for a few unexpected surprises. Somehow, they had misunderstood much of the truth that He had shared with them during rehearsals (or maybe they just forgot).
There have been times when I have wondered why Jesus didn’t just tell them what was coming. After thinking about that for a while I realize He did. The issue was not that He didn’t tell them but rather that the truth was just too big for them to grasp. How true has that been for me in my life each time I think I know what’s coming next! Each time that I reach a new understanding of God’s greatness and majesty something even greater follows. It’s like He keeps whispering in my ear, “I’m even bigger than that!”
- A time when God has surprised me with His greatness and majesty …
- When I sense Jesus coming near …
- Dancing freely means …