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Dancing and the Heart; Wisdom from strange sources
Topic Started: Feb 22 2010, 12:00 AM (1,149 Views)
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Resident Rebbi

First, in case my bishop reads this, I must confess my transgression. I told him the source of this little quote was actually a fortune cookie. Not exactly. It was actually from the wrapper of a little Dove chocolate. My wife's favorite candy and better than most fortune cookies in so many ways.

I found this amazing little bit of wisdom: "It is the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance." This is a line from "The Rose" sung by Bette Midler and Janis Joplin (who Bette portrayed in the movie "The Rose") and attributed to Amanda McBroom. It's a part of a profound quotation and pretty profound in and of itself. I don't want to psychologize our participation in worship (or lack thereof), but it might be helpful for pastors and worship leaders to consider a little of why people don't enter into worship and praise.

Most of the people I've known who are able to enter into worship and praise without inhibition are well-adjusted and fairly well healed up from the traumas that life dealt them. Those I've known who were UNable to enter in are people who have difficulties with relationships. These are both very broad and generalized statements, but for the moment, let me put these folks on a bell curve. Ten percent at either end do not fit into the pattern. The rest of us lie in the middle on either side of the middle point. That peak of the bell is the point where one achieves the point of healing where one can again embrace his God with a whole heart or at least one that is on the downward part of the healing curve. If I am so damaged and unhealthy that I can't have a healthy relationship or did not have healthy relationships with the important people in my life, how can I have a healthy relationship with my God?

Back again to the snippet from "The Rose". How many Christians cannot give themselves fully in worship or even fully in their relationship with Jesus because they are afraid of being hurt or disappointed? Because their hearts have been broken so many times that they can no longer trust even their creator? How many of us harbor unrealistic expectations and as a result cannot fully trust? I know that I've been there in human and divine relationships. How many have been fed a flawed theology like name-it/claim-it, realized it did not work and gave up on either church or God or both?

My understanding of one of the seven Hebrew words for praise, halal, has to do with praising with abandon, abandoning inhibition, abandoning concern for public image, abandoning awareness of self and replacing it with awareness only of our Lord. (editor's note: There is one oddball phrase that has its root in this word and Strong translated it as clamorously foolish. Better translations would agree with the clamorous part. English of his day was very different from ours.) Think of this as you think of David taking off royal robes and dressed only in his linen, priestly ephod, dancing with abandon before the Ark, before the people of Israel, and before his God. He was not concerned about anyone's opinion of him or how he looked. He was concerned about loving on his God with all, all, ALL of his strength, heart, soul, and mind. He gave it his all.

Think about Romans 12:1 and presenting my body as a living sacrifice. That's what David did. His whole being in an act of worship or praise. That's the goal.

But now, the secret to healing. If we can come to a point of accepting our hurts and purposing to look upward instead of inward, God will meet us and accept that offering of obedience. As we learn the habit of looking up instead of in, God will heal in so many ways. So much of our hurt comes from rehearsing old hurts, not from recent stuff. "I was hurt when I was 12, so I've never trusted anyone in the 50 years since" means that I've been arrested in that area for five decades! When I learned to look up, He touched my heart, healed my wounds, and equipped me to forgive the one who hurt me and to confess my lack of trust. In a sense, just purposing to actually move in praise or worship can be a silent confession of unspoken sins relating to trust, fear, unforgiveness and more.

When we as leaders offer this sort of encouragement, some may be able to release long held hurts and fears. What a great day that will be.

One fun little side note is that another Dove candy was put in my hand today. The "wisdom" from that piece? "Be the first to hit the dance floor!"

Dancing FOR Jesus, Dancing WITH Jesus. Perichoresis, anyone?

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