This is the question I have asked myself over and over and indeed a search that never seems to be resolved. Pre-Easter Jesus, as revealed in the first three gospels, is an amazing person who intrigues me, evokes such admiration, respect, and indeed devotion that I want with all my heart to follow him and his teachings. I sometimes think of him as My Jesus. My Brother. My Friend. My Teacher. Post-Easter Jesus is the creative product of four hundred years of mans’ spiritual experiences and logic culminating in the Nicene Creed that frankly leaves me confused and struggling with how the two Jesuses relate. Okay, I am an admitted heretic.
Recently I attended Sunday Worship in the US Naval Academy Chapel (really a Cathedral). It was a dreary morning. Like the day, I was feeling groggy. I stopped singing when I found that the organ was so loud that I couldn’t hear myself. When I realized that I was going to work very, very hard to hear the chaplain’s sermon reverberate off those magnificent marble walls, I fell asleep. At the end of the service a beautiful baritone voice brought me back to reality.
“Dance, dance, wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the Dance said he.” The words were slapping me awake as though God had decided this was the moment to answer my question. I thought: “This is your answer! Ann, Listen!” The words have haunted me ever since. Yesterday, during a quiet time, I sat and listened to the words of the song. Then I did something I learned in a meditation class, I began to write in my diary, jotting down random words and visions as they came flooding into my thoughts. I want to share a few with you.
“I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
And I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun.”
How Celtic is this?
“I came down from heaven and I danced on earth, at Bethlehem I had my birth." I was born (in Massachusetts). “I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame, the holy people said it was a shame."
Some rules are made to be broken.
“They whipped me, and they stripped me, and they hung me on high,
and they left me there on a cross to die.”
I saw Matthew Shepherd’s battered, beaten body left to die, on a fence, in Wyoming. “They buried my body and they thought I was gone,
but I am the Dance and the dance goes on.”
I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me,
I am the Lord of the Dance said He.”
Aha! The conditional tense: “if”. Something is required.“I will live in you if you’ll live in me, Relationship. Relationship with Jesus. I recall John Phillip Newell’s words: “Be in relationship. Stay in relationship.”
Then came the word-flood. As fast as I could write, the words came:
Living, Gifting, Being, Opening, Sharing, Communing, Eucharist, Being incarnate, Being created, Being stardust, Having a future, Overcoming (evil, inhumanity, pain, suffering, thoughtlessness, humiliation, loneliness, abandonment, hopelessness).
The Dance is: eternity, immortality, the continuity of Creation. Action. Motion. Verbs. Dance is motion. Dance is a verb. I am The Dance. I am the Lord of the Dance. I will lead you all in the Dance.”
lt is much easier for me to relate to the human Jesus than to a King, or to someone whose sole purpose in being born was to die. I really do like the pre-Easter Jesus. I have heard it said that God is a verb. Does that make Jesus a verb too? If so, then just maybe and hopefully I too can be a verb. BTW the young man in blue on the left in the photo is my grandson at choir practice. The man to his right was the soloist that Sunday.
Ann Dolbier is a Celtic Way supporter and Blog Contributor
Read more about Ann here