I grew up in a Christian tradition that didn’t dance. Not only did we NOT dance -there were very negative connotations with dance. However, I grew up trying to watch every dance movie that came out. How can dancing be so wrong that whenever I watch Sister Act I cry over the last scene every time. The sheer unashamed authentic joy bubbling up from the inside out!!!??? Seriously, how do you not want that authenticity?
On a Friday night a few years ago 3 of my Capernaum friends, Sarah, Shawnzy, Jessie, and I met at my house for pizza and then we were going to a concert. We got there a bit early and got a great couch together near the front of the room.
We couldn’t wait for the music to start and when it did there were squeals of joy and smiles a mile wide. It appeared that the rest of the room grew up in the same tradition I did but the 3 women on the couch I was sitting with wished they had a bit more floor space so they could dance.
After about 15 minutes it was fairly evident that this couch was not going to suffice. Sara, who oozes joy from every pore of her being, simply bubbled over every time a song was performed but tried to hold it in. I finally leaned over and whispered to Sara, “Do you want to get up and dance in the back of the room?” She jumped up, grabbed my hands and we danced our way to the back of the room and got our groove on for the rest of the concert.
We had so much fun in our little corner of the world. Delight and sheer joy bubbled out of Sara with every beat! I couldn’t help it. I just cried with joy and sorrow at the same time. Joy at the authentic spirit in Sara that could not be suppressed, and sorrow on my behalf, for I had fought this authenticity deeply in order to fit in or be accepted.
That concert was a few years ago and I have been dancing ever since. It’s not pretty; a Dutch, white, oldish woman dancing, but I am exhausted from suppressing joy and sorrow. I am exhausted with my own inauthenticity! My Capernaum friends have taught me the authenticity God yearns for from us. They get it. I need them in my life- God knew that.
A few weeks ago I was at Young Life New Staff training in Florida with about 200 YL new staff. Chap Clark was leading the teaching on the characteristics of disciples of Jesus and shared 4 points to help kids toward an authentic relationship with Jesus. He concluded that as leaders , “We need to help kids dance.”
So, Young Life and ministry everywhere….in Capernaum we know the kids who can dance, with reckless abandon, anytime, anywhere, it bubbles out of the core of their being, God is there---- we just need a beat.
God desires authenticity. Who do you need in your life to move there?