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Dancing into dawn

Monday, April 15, 2019

From Isaiah 42
I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

“You are my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?” These are words I say to Jesus, but I imagine that he said them too. God’s Trinitarian dance escapes the edges of the world this week, and the electricity it creates guides Jesus’ every step as he moves toward the creative completion of the cross.

But we too are asked to join the dance. What’s my move when our blind eyes are opened, when we’re released from the dark dungeons of our own making? Can’t I also dance?

And shouldn’t I? Hosanna - shout out praise and trip the light fantastic!

But this new light blinds too. I can hardly stand it, so I might turn away from God’s bright-light-future for me toward an even deeper dark. In a Palm Sunday reflection from the Faber Institute, Jesuit Rick Ganz wonders if, “because we preferred darkness to light (John 3:19), we catalyzed a powerful act of uncreation and set about extinguishing the Son.”

But “love does what love is, and not for any reason.”

So God waits … God waits. What will we decide?

Henri Nouwen talks about the “agony of a God who depends on us to decide how to live out the divine presence among us … who even allows us to decide how God will be God.” God invites me, “Won’t you come and dance with us?”

If I say no, as Dallas Willard always said, “God courteously steps aside.” What a dance we’re missing! But how do I know if I close my eyes?

Yesterday, as Jesus’ parade passed into Jerusalem, a cloud came up and it began to snow. Just a little. We were all surprised. I felt the flakes fall on my cheeks, one by one by one. Later that strange springtime snow turned to gray sky rain. But it won’t last. The flowers are blooming, and the sun will shine on all our upturned faces.

Sunrise. Sunset.

God’s promise never fails.

Nouwen’s hopes rise up with the palm leaves waving, and he claims Jesus’ love: “In that waiting, the intensity of his love, and God’s, is revealed to us.” Nothing will extinguish it. Isaiah knows we’re safe with God: “A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench.”

Even as we waver, as we doubt, he is so gentle with us, the children that he made.

These long days are made for dancing, Lord. In the dance I see beyond the man-made horizon of darkness at noon, of bloody nails and death. If I kick up my heels, will you hold me tight? Like the fiddler on the roof, teach me your song and sing it with me? I trust you, Jesus. I will hide myself in you.

Fr. Rick Ganz, “Father, Into Your Hands,” from the Faber Institute Newsletter,” April 13, 2019

Henri Nouwen, “The Path of Waiting,” an excerpt from Finding My Way Home, 2001

Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, Chapter 6, “Investing in the Heavens: Escaping the Deceptions of Reputation and Wealth,” p. 210, 1998

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