DANCING WITH THE PAST
I'm still smiling about the English Country Dance ball I did for the college students a couple of weeks ago. I don't have any photos of that one, but here is one from the past:
The Pemberley Promenade, November 2008
Have you ever had moments of sudden clarity, or times when you felt connected, wholly seated, with people of the past? I get this feeling whenever I read Hebrews 11 and 12, where the writer enumerates a whole list of people, one by one, in whom faith worked in their lives. And then he says:
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...." (Hebrews 12:1).
How inspiring that is!
I also feel a strong connection on Sunday morning, when we all stand up and hear the pastor call us to worship. As we raise our voices in song, I look down at the hymnbook and I see the year in which the hymn was written, or the year in which the tune was created, and I'm deeply moved. To THINK that centuries ago, people of faith stood and worshipped this way too.
What were they like? What did they wear and eat, how did they live? It doesn't completely matter; the fact is, they were just like me: raising their families, trying to make a living, striving to live a godly life in the middle of a fallen world. And praising God in corporate worship.
At that time, I also think of my Christian friends in various parts of the world who are also singing in church. Because of the time change, maybe earlier or maybe later. But there we are: together.
Folk dancing is like that too--a connection to the past, where all people are alike in the enjoyment of simple pleasures. As I call the dances and watch the ebb and flow of the dancers, the smiles and laughter make me laugh too. "Nothing new under the sun"--and sometimes that's a GREAT thing!
Contradance, December 2006