Dance (by Luke Anderson)
Luke Anderson blesses his mom with a Mother’s Day post.
Mom likes stories. Of course, you don’t need me to tell you that; you read her blog. You know as well as anyone how she’s a sucker for a good story. They are indeed her chosen art form.
Dancing– on the other hand– not so much.
Mom’s dancing experience has been mostly confined to mother-groom and husband-wife obligatory slow dances. You know, the ones which mostly involve standing still save for the slow, vaguely rhythmic turning in circles. Now I’m not saying Mom can’t dance. I never said that, stop putting words in my mouth. All I’m saying is that if she can dance, she’s been tremendously withholding of such a talent.
One of Mom’s favorite stories (again, I’m sure you don’t need me to fill you in) is the story of Covenant. A relational God revealed throughout the ages. I’ve been reading a book which describes this relational God as a dance. Apparently there were these guys who lived a long long time ago called the Cappadocian Fathers, and they came up with a word for the mystery of a three-in-one God. Perichoresis. A divine circle-dance. Because God is three, the very essence of God is loving relationship. This is why the apostle John could write with such unqualified boldness, “God is love.” And this is why you and I are here. This divine love-dance simply cannot be contained, spilling over into the creation of the universe, spreading outward and drawing inward, begging each creature to start boogying. Holy Moses.
Speaking of Moses.
Have you ever seen a couple dancing in one of those can’t-look-away-from-the-car-wreck type scenarios, where you can physically feel the awkwardness somewhere in the depths of your gut? This typically happens with middle-schoolers. The girl has had her growth spurt but the boy hasn’t, the placement of hands and bodies looks to be anything but intuitive, and the four minutes and twenty-three seconds of Ed Sheeran’s Perfect can’t seem to tick away fast enough. I’ll tell you what you won’t see in this kind of dance: eye contact.
“Three times,” writes Richard Rohr, “Scripture mentions that Moses was the only one who knew YHWH face to face.” Story goes, Moses looked straight at God, and left looking really shiny.
Which, obviously, brings us to Mom. This is a mother’s day post after all. Ever since I can remember, Mom has spent a whole lot of time getting to know God face to face. And she glows. Seriously. She has felt deeply the flow of this Divine Dance in her morning quiet times, in her lingering coffee chats with dear friends, in her speedy yet contemplative walks through the woods (just ask Dad– keeping up is no easy task), and in all the unpredictable moments in between.
For Moses, spreading this divine glory to the rest of the Israelites came with mixed results. Mostly not great results, actually. People kind of freaked out about the shininess, so Moses put a veil over his face. After Jesus came, giving his people something significantly more tangible to look at, some of his followers had pretty remarkable ideas about this whole face to face business.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Here’s the thing about Mom. She’s never been content to veil the glory she reflects. For those of us lucky enough to call ourselves her children, it’s mind-blowingly obvious that she’s seen and felt this deep current of love. What’s more, she doesn’t just tell us about it. She’s never been all that interested in providing us with all the right answers about what it means to gaze at the divine. In her words, in her actions, and in the still, confident peace she carries with her, she simply invites: look for yourself.
I think Mom might be the best dancer I know.