Imagine someone who did nothing but strengthen the right side of his or her body. Picture a weightlifter’s biceps and triceps bulging, and quads that could leg press hundreds of pounds. We’d understandably stare and question such a quest, then maybe feel sorry for whoever thought this was a good idea.
But that, in effect, is what we’ve done for the last five hundred years within the Protestant reformed ranks of church and theology. I am a product of a church culture that glorifies the activities of our left brains and distrusts, even frowns upon, the functions associated with our right brains.
The center of reformed worship is the declaration of “the Word,” which means the main thing in our worship is the sermon. Music is, for too many of us, a time to get settled in and as comfortable as one ever gets in a church pew. If the choir sings an anthem that’s particularly moving, that’s a plus, but not essential. The prayer time for us has become very important, but it is still a left-brain activity since language plays such a crucial role. Of course the business of the announcements and offering are what they are. Then, the goal of the sermon is to connect our faith through words with our everyday lives, a left-brained activity.
Nothing at all wrong, but completely unbalanced and ultimately unhealthy to our “shalom;” our integrity and unity as people created in the image of God for lives that reflect a deep joy that produces gratitude in all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
A few weeks ago a little boy was sitting in the front row with his mother when the band started our worship service. With a lot of us looking like our indigestion was really acting up, this little boy started dancing. Dancing!? And as he danced, his mother tried to get him to stop. But I was smiling and so were some others who realized that something important was happening and maybe, just maybe, was there just a faint memory of when we were kids and danced when the music invited us to dance? But as adults, that part of our brain is so anemic, and the scolding parent in our heads who tells us it’s not ok to cut loose singing and dancing in church, has stolen our birthright as children of the God who laughs and dances.
I get it. Life is a serious business. But maybe…just maybe…Jesus was saying something really important when he said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. (Matthew 18:2-3 MSG) What if that’s not a threat but an invitation? What if Jesus is inviting us to let our holy imaginations, our innate love of beauty, the joy of song, and the divine dance of life free us to connect with God (the lover of our souls), our true selves, and the people who populate our lives and all who share this planet with us?
King David’s story is one of triumph and tragedy. Yet he was a man described by the Apostle Paul as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). He was willing to grieve and pour out his sorrows before God. And he was willing to make a fool of himself in public for the sheer joy of celebrating God’s presence and blessings as he whooped it up for God in song and dance. (See 2 Samuel 6) Having spent time the last few weeks considering these Psalms, I’m feeling the need to balance my life with some laughter, song, and dance.
Psalm 100:1-5 (The Message)
On your feet now—applaud GOD! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Know this: GOD is God, and God, GOD. He made us; we didn’t make him. We’re his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For GOD is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.
Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies; Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his magnificent greatness; Praise with a blast on the trumpet, praise by strumming soft strings; Praise him with castanets and dance, praise him with banjo and flute; Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum, praise him with fiddles and mandolin. Let every living, breathing creature praise GOD! Hallelujah!
Hope to see you Sunday…This is what I found on my desk…
- ANDREW MEN ARE GOING ON STRIKE! The next Men’s Club meeting will be a BOWLING NIGHT AT AMF BOWLING LANES IN PETALUMA, TUESDAY, MARCH 13th. Meet at 6:30PM at In-N-Out Burger, 1010 Lakeville Highway, Petaluma, for dinner, then we’ll head to AMF for 2 games of bowling. Cost for bowling: $16, includes two games and shoe rental. Please RSVP to Brian Mayo: [email protected] so that he can reserve lanes.
HOME HAPPENINGS IS STARTING SOON! Home Happenings is a time to enjoy Christian fellowship with other families at St. Andrew in an informal setting. It’s an opportunity to know and become known by others while sharing a fun time with your family unit and others. And, includes the whole family and a meal!
Four “family units” (singles, families, couples—intergenerational) will be assigned to each group. Beginning March 11th, groups will meet at member homes from 5-7 pm on Sunday evenings (or another agreed upon day/time) for six weeks (excluding Easter Sunday). Each family will have an opportunity to host Home Happenings in their home. The groups have a Happenings guide, with discussion starters, short bible study, and a potluck menu. It’s super simple, super fun, and a great way to make new friends. Sign up on your Prayer Card this Sunday.
Congregational Town Hall Meeting and Lunch Sunday March 4th at noon. Watch for more in the coming weeks.
Read more from the Preacher’s Post here:
2/11: Psalms 100 & 150 Whopping It Up For God