The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Gen. 2:18
My children love to dance, which I just may have mentioned a few times before, but it comes up a great deal. Chad’s teacher laughed about moments in their preschool class when the music would come on and all the kids would stop and look to where Chad was in the class to see what the dance move of the moment was supposed to be. Even though parents are always supposed to think their kids’ abilities are superhuman, I have to say that Ellie and Chad have some moves that I surely never would have attempted until my college days, and even now, don’t quite have the coordination or rhythm to do. They are great dancers and bring delight to a room with their dancing as they encourage others to cut loose and feel the groove.
The interesting thing about their dancing, though, is that apart from the safety of Chad’s class, they will almost never be the first ones on the dance floor. They aren’t comfortable or willing to be a one man show, at least not until it comes as part of a group dancing experience. I have found that I am no different in dance, song or standing firm in the person and work of Jesus.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25
Last week, I heard Scott Roley and Scotty Smith, both pastors at Christ Community Church in Franklin, at separate times refer to the process of the Gospel’s impact on individuals and therefore the church through a picture of music: Knowledge of the lyrics is not enough. The music of the Gospel brings the lyrics of the Gospel alive. But the lyrics and the music together should then cause the church to dance, and that is when you see the life of Jesus bringing life to the community. The Gospel dance is not for individuals in isolation, dancing only before a mirror of my own image. Dancing alone not only makes the lone dancer the spectacle, the focus and center of the moment but it also means the default “audience” is more self-conscious than compelled by the very lyric and music that might draw them to the dance floor as well.
Like Ellie and Chad, I need others to dance with me because my faith can’t even last through a whole week alone. My dancing legs get tired and discouraged. My individual mind blurs the melody, loses the rhythm and too quickly begins gazing down at my own legs and feet which become heavy and awkward. My Gospel amnesia is so steady and strong that my guilty conscience can be much louder than my assurance of faith. My uncertainty about God’s existence, about His redemptive activity and power in my life and community, about the value of dancing at all is magnified when I am left to dance alone. This isn’t about following a crowd or just fitting in, its about a reality of imaging God and living by faith that has been true since before the fall: it is not good for man to be alone. I lose perspective alone, can’t see my own flaws or strengths accurately alone, get disoriented alone and lack the full beauty and complete character of God alone as only one part of His image.
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5
I was not made to image God fully and exhaustively alone. I can’t. And I can’t see God clearly alone, particularly if mine is the only image I see. My faith is strengthened by the many various aspects of God’s image reflected in others around me. I need the sight of others to see what I cannot see. I need the ears of others to hear what I cannot hear. Another dancer shares the burden of the dance floor and also brings new energy to it. We need to not stop meeting together because the parts of the Body must be together to function properly and most effectively as a whole. I need to be spurred on because my faith grows faint alone. There is only One who endured even to the point of death, and I am not Him.
I cannot dance alone and I cannot ask others to the dancing for me or my entertainment. I can’t hold unswervingly alone, I am too easily “swerved”. How good it is that He has never asked for solo dancers or lone faith warriors. That job has already been claimed so that I may now dance freely and confidently with the Body as we bring life and energy to our community, not just our bathroom mirrors.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6