I Forgot to Dance!

I had an incredible weekend with Jim in DC.  We went to celebrate with our friend, Rev. Dr. Joe Daniels, who has pastored at Emory for 20 years.  Twenty years in one church in the UMC is quite an accomplishment these days.  And this faith community reflects the deep love that has bathed them by Joe’s presence among them.  If I could choose any church to attend, besides CrossRoads, this one just might be the one…

So we celebrated with the church community on Saturday night at a banquet.  We enjoyed every speech and a special message about real love from Pastor Rudy Rasmus, all the accolades for our brother and his beautiful family, the worship music, and the way Joe just sat there smiling through it all…

Then Sunday came.  Jim and I walked into the church and received the usual hugs. If you’ve never been to Emory, it’s worth going just for the hugs.  They aren’t polite hugs, but hold-you-till-you-feel-the-love-hugs.  The hugs alone make me feel the heart of God.  The first worship song had me in tears.  (I have never gone to this church without experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit to move me to tears).  As the worship with music continued, and I felt the sway as the congregation moved their bodies in unison with the sound, and unashamedly raised their hands to lift up God.  Wanting to close my eyes and melt away into the flow of God’s love,…its a powerful pull…

The Reverend Vance P. Ross was preaching.  His was a powerful word about how we worship God in spirit and truth and how our lives are a worship service, and how sometimes we pretend-worship because our lives don’t match our hearts desire.  That’s how the sermon touched me:  every moment is worship, and in order to be in worship, we first need to be followers in spirit and truth with all of our day-to-day lives.

But, later, something hit me really hard as I sat in the airport waiting to board for the long trip home.  It was like a bright flashing light entered my soul and reminded me that I could’ve danced!  I could’ve danced, but I missed the chance to let loose and let God move in my stiff, Hispanglo body.

It happened before the sermon…

Joe was in a celebratory mood.  The celebration dinner was done and the sermon was being delivered by a trusted friend, and he was just there to greet and worship.  I know that is a relief for a pastor every once in awhile to just join in the fun.  And somehow the band got to vamping after the offering, and Joe started leading us in singing these words to the music of the Electric Slide…

Ain’t no party like the Holy Ghost party,

Cuz the Holy Ghost parties all the time…

And then he and others got up front and started doing the Electric Slide line dance to the music.  Pastors were dancing.  People were dancing.  Family members were dancing (one family member was videotaping the fun), and of course, children were right up there dancing to the Holy Ghost party.

I really enjoyed watching everyone, but like I said before, I missed something crucial!  I missed the one chance I had to really join in the worship with my BODY, mind and soul…  I was hesitant to dance because it’s not in my culture to do so in church, and because I’m shy, and because I’m not a very good dancer, and because I have a thousand and one excuses not to dance before God my Creator, the Lover of my Soul…

King David was transporting the Worship Chest back to its proper seat and he knew that worshipping God was a part of the deal.  And so it says, that David worshipped the Lord with abandon:

David, dressed in a linen priestly vest, danced with all his strength before the Lord. 2 Samuel 6:14, CEB

David didn’t just move his body a little, he let loose and used everything he had in him to dance before the Lord.  He really let loose!  I wish I could’ve seen that!

Oh, but ,… maybe I did.  I did see dancing with abandon before the Lord at Emory UMC, led by The Rev. Dr. Joseph Wayne Daniels (that’s Daniels with an “s”).  It just happened later, in my lifetime, in a church on the other side of my world.

And I stood there and enjoyed it, but I forgot to dance.  My bad.  My sad.  I could’ve danced.

Sunday’s coming… I hope you worship God in spirit and truth.  I hope you feel the love.  I hope you don’t hold back in worshipping the One who loves you the most.  And, mostly, I hope you get to dance.

In faith, hope, and love,

Pastor Dottie

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