Friday, October 31, 2014

The exuberant dance of life (really)

What a glorious cool day in the neighborhood, to be followed by a really glorious very cool night tonight. It isn't often that the humidity rich neighborhood gets drenched in sunshine and dry air and cool temps, but this is the one for the ages.

What does all that mean? Just this:

On All Hallow's Eve, let us instead of celebrating the dead, celebrate life.

David, in the Message, describes it all this way: God, mark us with grace and blessing! Smile! The whole country will see how you work, all the godless nations see how you save. God! Let people thank and enjoy you. Let all people thank and enjoy you. Let all far-flung people become happy and shout their happiness because You judge them fair and square. You tend the far-flung peoples. God! Let people thank and enjoy you. Let all people thank and enjoy you. Earth, display your exuberance! You mark us with blessing, O God, our God. You mark us with blessing, O God. Earth's four corners -- honor him!"

Well, uh, that says it all, doesn't it? I'm especially reminded of that Rich Mullins song, Step by Step: O God, you are our God, and I will ever praise you. O God, you are our God, and I will ever praise you. I will seek you in the morning, and I will learn to walk in your ways, and step by step you'll lead me, and I will follow you all of my days."

I especially -- this morning at least -- love the line "Let all people thank and enjoy you. Earth, display your exuberance!"

When was the last time, in God's timing and God's manner and God's blessing, that you just went out and danced with exuberance? I mean, just got down with it. Just laughed and laughed and sang and sang and the worry lines on your face were warped away by the smile road work and you just felt relieved and rejuvenated at the exact same time as if some new drug had instantly taken you over?

Yeah, me neither. Not much of an exuberance dancer.

But that doesn't mean we can't become one. The solution to this thought of non-dance is to think about all the ways God has blessed you, us. It's not a small thing. Life, breath, spouses, children, loves, life. I mean life. Life its ownself, as one Dan Jenkins would write. It's a serious, serious non-serious, absolutely grin-producing blessing to understand that God loves us so much that he gives all that we need to us and blesses us not with greatness but with humility, not with ultimate possession of things but ultimate dance-producing-I-don't-need-anything-but-you stuff.

Look, I'm not a top of the line preacher and I'm not a top of the line writer and you can buy two or three hundred of me for the price of one Rick Warren or Adam Hamilton, but in the end, in the end, I'm just as loved by God as is either of those two or whatever the next big name you can come up with.

So, as the church planting thing plays out in great growth or in great disaster, either way, God loves me. God protects me. God tickles me. God says quit taking everything so very darn seriously. I created stars; I created you. Same thing. No difference.

The night sky I filled, He says. Your lungs, I fill.

If I can do all that (and you wouldn't believe all I can do even if I told you), then can't I get just a little spiritual high-five from you? Just a touch? Just a whisper or a hint at joy?

So, let the dance begin.

We dance in the rain. We dance in the sun. We dance in the pain. We dance in the fun. We dance, because the Lord of the Dance is playing our tune, and it's the most exuberant tune of all time.

Each of us.
All of us.

In Exuberance.

That's life, and then some.