Dancing With God

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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I treasure memories of my Greek-American upbringing and our extended family gatherings. No get-together was complete without food and dance. The yiayias (grandmothers dressed in black) and a host of others served roast lamb; lemon potatoes in olive oil; a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and cheese; and a pine resin flavored bread. As we topped the meal with strong coffee and pastries, the music would shift into something rhythmic, and tables and chairs parted like the Red Sea . . .

Time to dance!

For a young child, the dance was inviting and daunting. Like a rudderless ship on a rolling sea, the circle swayed first this way, then another, legs crossing at the knee, down, up, around, down again; toes pointed up, down, to the side . . . and so it went. How to master the steps? The moves? The sway and bob? Jumping in looked risky—as if one false move would sink a group of flowing Greeks into a pile on the floor.

But jump I did! Not like a lone clogger at a town fair—but into linked arms clasped strong to the shoulder I rose with the billowing tide, this way then that, legs crossing down, stomp and around—carried! Ha! I wasn't to master the steps before the dance; I was to jump in and let the dance carry, show, instruct, and ride me on the music to deep delight.

I understand better now the ancient wisdom of John of Damascus, a bearded desert seer of the eighth century who contemplated the nature of the divine three: Father, Son, and Spirit. What image, he wondered, would portal into the mystery of Trinity—what picture could unveil in small part what is too grand to grasp in its fullness?

Ahhh! The sage must have donned a grin from ear to ear—the dance! Yes! The dance of God! Perichoresis he called it in the Greek of his day: the circle dance—eternal movement, never still, shifting and swaying, emptying and receiving, delivering and accepting . . . an endless frolic of love and gift, a community of one, yet three.

There is your invitation to join the dance! Like a child buoyed by strong arms on either side, rising on the strength of community, drawn in and carried to and fro, so God pulls us in as we are—clumsy and awkward—drawing us into the infectious love dance of God.

The meal is served, the music erupts, and the invitation comes: Will you dance?