“To what will I compare this generation? It is like a child sitting in the marketplaces calling out to others, ‘We played the flute for you and you didn’t dance. We sang a funeral song and you didn’t mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ Yet the Human One came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved to be right by her works.” (Matthew 11:16-19, CEB)
We can either see the kids representing John and Jesus: John invited people to mourn and repent and Jesus to rejoice in good news but everybody turned them down. Or we can see the kids as the contemporaries of John and Jesus who resented both John and Jesus. Neither fasting or feasting pleased them. They did not want to hear. Either way, the people missed out. They chose to sit out when they could have danced in grace.
What do we do? How do we respond to Jesus? Do we give him a cold shoulder? Do we think his message is uncool and leave it at that? Do we think some other Christians are too religious or not religious enough? Just as God appealed to the Jewish people of the first century in at least two ways, he appeals to us today in many ways, always according to our needs. But are we listening?
God is calling us to live, love, and dance in his grace. Do we act like Pharisees and sit out? Because the word ‘Pharisee’ literally means ‘the separated one’. A pharisee was meant to be ‘separated from sin’. And that itself was a good thing. But sometimes a good thing can separate us from the main thing. Like Dietrich Bonhoeffer has said “Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously & actively doing God’s will.” We are called to do God’s will, live in his presence, and dance in his grace.
Do we separate ourselves from God and others?
Or do we take our chances and dance in his presence?
Do we rejoice with people who rejoice and mourn with people who mourn?
Or do we separate ourselves from real life, real community, real faith?
Do we receive God’s grace as a power to change us, renew us, sustain us?
Or do we stubbornly want to go all the way alone?
Do we dare to dance in grace when other people say we should sit out?
Do we dare to trust God to take care of us throughout our lifetime?
Do we respond to God with a resound yes or do we sit out?
When you do have a chance to sit out or dance in grace…
I hope you dance.
Enable us to hear you.
Empower us to live in faith
and dance in your grace.
Equip us to draw others in your presence.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Dancing in grace, anyone?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you live, move, and dance in grace!