Mark 1:9-11 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
This has been one of my favorite passages in Scripture for a long time. In it we see so much power, beauty and intimacy in the Trinity. In this passage we see all three persons of the Trinity in one place at one time for the first time since Creation in Genesis 1. This passage shows not only the intimacy between the Trinity, but also that he was re-creating creation in that moment. But this time the “new Adam” would not fail in the temptations and be sufficient to live the life we were required to live and die the death our sin requires of us. And it starts right here. At the scene of the Dancing King.
So look at that moment. Jesus the Son coming up out of the baptism waters; the Father speaking words of Hope over him; the Spirit like a dove coming not just over but INTO Jesus. This is how God works. Exists. Dancing in and around one another. And, for all who are in Christ, dancing over and in us. Inviting us to Dance with Him.
Here’s how C.S. Lewis puts it in Mere Christianity: “[Christians] believe that the living, dynamic activity of love has been going on in God forever and has created everything else. And that, by the way, is perhaps the most important difference between Christianity and all other religions: that in Christianity God is not an impersonal thing nor a static thing — not even just one person — but a dynamic pulsating activity, a life, a kind of drama, almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance”.
So what is that to me? Why would I care? Here is how C.S. Lewis speaks to that:
“And now, what does it all matter? It matters more than anything else in the world. The whole dance, or drama, or pattern of this three-Personal life is to be played out in each one of us: or (putting it the other way round) each one of us has got to enter that pattern, take his place in that dance. There is no other way to the happiness for which we were made.”
We are invited to live a life of Spiritual Dance. Christianity isn’t about rule following or “just” being saved. It is about organic, rhythmic, relational, intimate, exciting (and sometimes dangerous) dance. Does that describe your relationship with Jesus? To be honest, it rarely describes mine…which beckons me to “repent” or dancing with the the wrong partner (but more on that in the next blog).
So my daughter took our dog Chili camping. He usually does really well, has a loads of fun and comes back exhausted. This time was different. He went off exploring, which is normal, but never returned. He was gone. And wasn’t wearing his dog tag. No amount of whistling or yelling helped. He was swallowed up by the 801 Sq. Miles of Pisgah National Forest. My wife and I were out of town, so we called in all of our resources. We had a friend who works at the local NBC channel tweet a plea for help to his masses; another friend posted her own reward for the dog; many other friends went out scouring. Amy and I were left 5 hours away overcome with worry, anxiety and prayer. Yes, we love our little dog.
The morning that Chili took off, literally at the exact time, Amy and I were listening to a Timothy Keller sermon on Prayer and Mediation (http://www.gospelinlife.com/how-we-live-as-believers-6324.html). He walked us through Psalm 1 and how, as our roots are dug deep into the river of the Gospel, we won’t be utterly dismayed when dark storms thrash around us. We won’t be like the chaff that has no roots and blows with the wind. Well, once again, call me chaff. I am well aware of my mood, faith and heart fluctuations. It’s annoying to me as well. But it also tutors me in the Gospel. As my heart-pendulum swings, it reminds me of how much I need Jesus, who is not only the example of my faith, and not only the object of my faith, but the power of my faith. I can’t do it on my own, so I keep requiring him to do it for me; keep reminding me that I truly am His and that he won’t let me go; that he has forgiven me for all my ugly sins, including my ugly faithlessness when I forget the depths of his love and care for me.
“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”
So, as it turns out, a couple of hikers stumbled upon Chili and had him join them on the rest of their long hike. When they returned to Asheville, they had him scanned for an implanted chip, which revealed who he belonged to! They brought him back home where he belongs. When I keep straying from my Father, He keeps bringing me back. Over and over. I have the Holy Spirit perfectly and permanently implanted in me, which not only reveals my identity, but has the power to bring me home.
“Here’s my heart, O take and Seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.