A rare sight in the middle of the sanctuary. He danced every single time when the worship leader started to play this particular song. The music like a magic carpet swept his feet up and he started to dance. He twirled in circles. His arms flared up high into the air. He danced like he was pacing his speed and starting to run the race with his fists hugging around his chest. I love seeing him dance. I do not know him. I do not know his name. I could hear someone calling his name inaudibly when the worship leader encouraged him. As the music played, he wove and veered in the space between where the worship team was and the chairs, carving exquisite arabesques of choreography with his own body. He was dancing before the Lord, unashamed, UNDIGNIFIED, like David leaping before the ark, like Miriam twirling and shaking her tambourine at the edge of the sea. He offered his body as an offering, holy and pleasing. My heart, not just my lips, sang at the sight.
It may serve as another signpost, but instead of digging into all the intricate signs and wonders that I have been hauling and gathering and archiving them into the great big book of memory. My heart sang at the sight. It prompted my lips singing even louder.
It was simply a three minute song, yet it was the purest act of worship. I have seen how others respond to his gentle touch, his standing close to his community, his offering arms reaching upward hugging whoever he chooses to stand beside. One thing that strikes me – he feels safe, he is whole, he is accepted. I want to extend that safety and acceptance to him even I do not yet know him. The mystery of knowing he is already a part of this community dazzles me.
One writer wrote about one of his experiences similar to this when he visited a church as a guest speaker. That was exactly what he witnessed. Ironically, the passage he prepared to bless the church is on John 5 – “Do you want to get well?” Jesus asked the invalid who had been lying for 38 years – “Do you want to get well?” – “Are you willing to be whole” (is closer to the Greek).
He talked about why Jesus only healed one when there were a great number of disabled people used to lie- the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. When Jesus asked this piercing question, an invitation to be well. The invalid’s answer was grumbling with irritation, complaining.
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
My paraphrasing : “Mister, phew!! Look at me!! There is no one helping me getting into the pool. When I tried to get in, someone always gets ahead of me, and left me lying here.”
The invalid didn’t really answer Jesus’ question. He didn’t answer exuberantly as I hoped he would, “Yes, I want to get well.” He didn’t gibberish-ly string out his urgency, “YES!! Please, heal me!! Me, Sir! Me, Sir! Me, Sir!” He was reluctant. He invertly chose to complain and self pitied himself about there wasn’t any help for him – blah blah blah – and people were trying to take advantage of him – blah blah blah.
So did he really want to get well? Did he want to be whole? Would Jesus get annoyed by his complaining demeanor and just moved on to another disabled among the many near the pool and healed another? Jesus saw the havoc this invalid man suffered outside of him being invalid physically, but saw through the deepest roughed callouses of this man which were more desperately needed to get healed, to be whole and well.
That was what I saw that Sunday. The man, who was funny mimicking what the pastor was preaching with action, and how the pastor acknowledged his action with a nod and a smile. That is beauty at its sight. He is whole, the deepest wholeness that I do not even have at all. I know I can’t dance undignified-ly like he did in front of a church! I can’t dance even when the church was singing the song with words, “I will dance, I will sing, to be mad for my King.” I would sing the song but I would not dance to the song. It would cost me buckets of sweats and maybe a few caffeinated drinks to summon up encourage with your forceful coercion to make me acting “mad” with my dance moves for the Lord I love. I shamefully admitted it.
I was standing there singing my lungs out, feeling a bit uneasy of this new place and sound and surrounding. Yet the Lord paints His invitation, like a couple second of short film teaser, to see far beyond something visible. A place for you to become whole, to be undignified, even more undignified than all the foolishness of taking this risk.