Keeping the Spark Alive
Because the stakes are so high, even though you’re up-to-date on all this truth and practice it inside and out, I’m not going to let up for a minute in calling you to attention before it.
2 Peter 1:12 (MSG)
Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
2 Samuel 6:14-15 (NIV)
Sandhill Cranes are extraordinary creatures. The way that they move and the distances that they migrate in huge flocks have earned them a special place in a variety of cultures. There’s something even more fascinating about these cranes, however. They are known for their yearly mating dance…. yet they are monogamous and mate for life. So the question we are faced with is this: Why do they keep dancing?
Researchers have been trying to find the answer. They’ve concluded that the passionate yearly dance that cranes participate in is a way of strengthening the bond that they’ve created, as well as teaching their young ones what it means to be a crane. They don’t dance to find a mate… they dance to keep the spark alive.
This image is valuable across many themes. Whether it is our faith or our relationships, there are things that we are committed to that no longer require dancing in the same way. We’re committed to our marriages. We are committed to our families. We are committed to our faith, and hopefully to a local community of people to journey along with it. And because we feel committed, we can sometimes assume that the "extra effort" that was once required no longer feels necessary.
It’s easy to stop dancing. Because God knows we love him and we know God loves us, we no longer feel the need to create as much sacred space in our lives to truly strengthen that bond. Because we’re in a committed marriage for years, we don’t need to keep dating our spouses to get them to marry us again. Our kids and siblings know we love them, so we conclude that we don’t need to directly tell them those words as often anymore. We are committed to our church, so the radical expressions of community can begin to take a backseat to our busy lives. And before we know it, dancing feels silly, frivolous, and unnecessary. You get me?
But what if we learned from the cranes? What if we took those committed relationships in our lives (God, family, faith community…) and put on the dance music again?
Maybe you feel connected with Jesus and steady in your faith. But what if you took a day to get away and just be loved by God, dig into the scriptures, and pray about what new adventure Jesus might be sending you into? What if you extended an invitation to an open friend to explore Jesus in a fresh way with you?
What if you took a fresh look at your faith community and asked how you could strengthen your own role in using your gifts? Maybe you could:
-Help out in a new exciting way
-Make note of some new people and decide to invite them into your lives
-Give a bit more radically of money and time...
And for the married folks out there… What if we made sure that we are unashamedly inviting our spouses to dance with us again, for no reason except the joy of the experience and strength for the future? Everyone will decide what "dancing" may look like (wink, wink), but possibly it looks like this:
-Reinstitute a regular date night
-Do a completely new and unnecessary activity together (take a cooking class!)
-Go on a new adventure you’ve never done before (a hike or a trip?)
-Write poetry for each other (even if it’s terrible!)
-Take a look at your wedding vows and talk together about how to keep accomplishing them
-Tell your kids (in front of your spouse) about how amazing your spouse is and how much you love her/him...
Jesus leads us into a life with him and with others that gets more exciting and beautiful as it progresses, not less. Sometimes we need a bit of a jumpstart to remember that when we’ve gotten into ruts. If you’ve lost the spark in any number of ways in your life, it’s time to dance again. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Dance for God. Dance for the ones you love. Don’t be embarrassed if you feel ridiculous. It's doing more good than you could ever know.
Jesus, inspire me to do the unnecessary things that bring life to my upward and outward relationships.
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