The Dance – Part 3

 Dancing and the Bibledancing

“God is dead.”  –  Friedrich Nietzsche

Those three simple words became a movement under German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.  He once wrote in a letter to a friend:

“If these Christians want me to believe in their god, they’ll have to sing better songs, they’ll have to look more like people who have been saved, they’ll have to wear on their countenance the joy of the beatitudes.  I could only believe in a god who dances.”[1]

We know that God’s not dead.  He is very much alive.  But how does He feel about the dance?

Look at Matthew 11:16-19.

     16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

   17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
   and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
   and you did not mourn.’

   18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Remember Jesus famous story about the prodigal son in Luke 15?  Take a fresh look at verses 25-27:

   25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.”

There’s just no getting around it.  Jesus told a story about how extravagant (a meaning for the word prodigal) the Father’s love is.  The father called the shots for the celebration.  That means he ordered the band and made a place for the dancing (see v. 25).  This is a story about the extravagant love of God.  And apparently He sanctions dancing.

Do you really think that they didn’t dance at the Jewish wedding that Jesus attending in Cana of Galilee? (Read John 2)  I’m guessing that after Jesus turned the giant urns of water into the best wine of the night, there was a massive Jewish circle dance and all of their heels were kicked up!

I won’t take the time to show you that there is a time to dance in Ecclesiastes.  And I won’t try to sway you by how King David, a man after God’s own heart, swayed to the music undignified before the Lord in his skivvies.

The Bible seems to paint a picture of a “Pro-Dancing” God.  In Part 2, I shared how I was much more comfortable marching for Jesus than dancing with Him.  That may be where you are too.

But listen and see if Jesus doesn’t have an “at ease” word for you.

I think He really is a God who dances.


[1] Quoted in John Bradshaw, Homecoming (New York:  Bantam, 1990), 274.

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About Rich Stevenson

Rich is the Executive Director of The Malachi Network (www.malachinetwork.org), a ministry focused on making the name of the LORD great among the nations. This network serves young leaders in missions and church planting. Prior to his present ministry, Rich pastored in Southern New Jersey, planted a church in Wilmore, KY, established a network of churches, served as an adjunct professor at Asbury College and was a senior leader at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO as well as The International House of Prayer in Atlanta, GA. Rich is the author of two books: Secrets of the Spiritual Life—10 Lessons from the One Thing Passages (Baker Books, 2003) A Voice from Home—The Words You Long to Hear from Your Father (WaterBrook Press, 2005) He graduated from Asbury College in 1984 with a BA degree in Philosophy of Religion and Asbury Theological Seminary in 1987 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2010, Rich received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Union Biblical Seminary in Yangon, Myanmar. Rich has been married to Tania since 1982 and they have been blessed by amazing children: Zachary and his wife Meghan, Jacob and his wife Lena, Jessica and Corrie Emma.
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