Grab your partner and dance your faith

One of my favourite pics of Dad, taken just a few years after he tried to teach me to polka.

“It’s time to get your faith dancing,” croons gospel singer Sandi Patty.

I’m sure she means those good days, when you live up to what you say you believe, and know you’d die for the same. When you sit slow at Jesus’ feet, and stand fast for what you know is right. When you stay silent in the face of accusers, but speak up in the face of wrong. When you love the things God loves, hate the things he hates. When you wake up excited to serve others and fall asleep in peace, thinking… “God and I were SO GOOD today.”

On those days, the music of life is sweet, and the dance of faith is beautiful.

I’ve had some days like that. One, at least. I’ve had plenty more when it seems I can barely take a single step without messing up. When my walk of faith feels less like a dance than a series of bumbling missteps in all directions – rather like trying to perform ballet while wearing clogs.

Then I have a father memory, and I remember what to do.

Years ago, while Dad still had his health, I tried to show him a polka step I’d learned for my role in the community production of the musical, Oklahoma. A few steps into it, Dad grinned. Cleared his throat. “That’s not how you do the polka,” he said. His feet tapped the floor in front of his chair, demonstrating steps they hadn’t taken in a half-century, since the days when he was the most sought-after dancer on the barn dance circuit; before his love for dancing out his faith overshadowed his passion for dancing a fine reel.

“You put this foot here, and that foot there, and your rhythm is all wrong—ya’ don’t do it so fast.”

I started over. A one, two, three…and a  one, two…trip.

He chuckled and shook his head. “Nope. Still wrong.” I tried again. Tripped over my feet again. Messed up the rhythm again. He outright guffawed this time.

“Daddy,” I said, frustrated. “Just get up and show me!”

He grinned, a boyish grin. As though he’d been waiting for me to ask. Standing up, he took me in his arms. “Just follow.” As I leaned into him, I started to catch the rhythm. The pattern began making sense.

And in my father’s arms, the steps came not perfectly, but at least more naturally.

The dance of faith is best done like that. Folded in our Heavenly Father’s embrace, moving to the Holy Spirit’s rhythm, following the steps of Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean the dance doesn’t get messy; that toes won’t get stomped on and steps missed. Or that we won’t stumble.

But falling, faltering or fumbling doesn’t mean failure. Failure is stopping your ears to the music of the Holy Spirit. Refusing to get up, to begin again, to follow.

How goes your faith-dance? Start over. Father God is longing for an invitation to lead.

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