Life Design 2: Dance of Delight

. 6 min read

Discipleship series
Oct 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Psalm 25.1-7 (1-10)
Genesis 2.25 – 3.10
Zephaniah 3.8-20, Mark 1.9-11
week, as we began this message series on Life Design, our fall invitation to
discipleship theme, we explored Disruption. Every one of our lives is disrupted
at some point. Cancer, grief, divorce, job loss, and a hundred other losses
along the way. Demands of the job that are so extreme that we lack time to even
contemplate how to change it. Every one of our days is disrupted. A simple
sit-down becomes an unexpected grievance. The rush out the door becomes a
broken plate. The dog gets loose. The milk turns. We’re out of that one
indispensable ingredient to make dinner.
       When the little disruptions pile up or
when a really big one comes along, we identify with the poet Dante: “In the
middle of the road of my life I awoke in a dark wood where the true way was
wholly lost” (Cited in Whyte, 1). Yet, our theme Scripture:
Scripture, 2019: Ephesians 3:18-21
 I pray that you may
have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and
length and height and depth,  19 and to know the love of Christ
that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of
God.  20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able
to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,  21
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever
and ever. Amen.
theme is the Dance of Delight. Next week, Dare and Dream. Then, Detour,
Discern, and Decide. Today, Dance of Delight. [Video of my dance on the rock.]
And, quite honestly, dance finds its place in the midst of Disruption. That is,
in fact, the best place for the dance of delight.  And I would suggest that just about every one
of us has found a way to delight, to dance, in the midst of some disruption. I
do not suggest that we delight in the disruption itself but find delight
elsewhere in our lives that gives us strength to endure the disruption. A
couple weeks back, I saw a delightful disruption story on the news. During
halftime at a high school football game in the southwest, in the middle of the
band’s program, the sprinkler system went off. And the band played on. They
didn’t forget their dance steps.

week I stopped by Cameron English’s new building, the new site of CDE Exotics.
It is a beautiful old building just a block from the square in Wilkes-Barre.
There’s a ton of work he did to get a vacant building ready to open, and a ton
of work that is yet to be done, but the store is open, with tortoises, birds,
lizards, snakes, rat colonies, and more. I got a full tour and because of the
kind of things I imagine, I start thinking about how you could do church in a
space like that – rough hardwood floors in a light industrial/commercial space.
       I had an unplanned adventure with one of
the rescue snakes, a large albino python named Earl. Earl is known for his calm
and affectionate demeanor with children and I’ve even introduced him to Zoe. He
was the final stop on my tour. And he was hungry. And Cameron had just been
handling the rat colonies with me and smelled like dinner. Yes, he latched onto
Cameron in the left forearm and would not let go. …
       Observations: the customers who thought
this was cool, Cameron and Brandy calling Earl all these affectionate names.
       You see, even though this was a
disruption, they had not forgotten their delight.
The main theme in the short oracle of this prophet is judgment. It’s coming.
It’s gonna be bad. And you can’t do anything to stop it. But God has not
abandoned you. God has not forgotten God’s love for you. God will make certain
that you won’t be wiped out. God is preparing to dance over you.
your God is in your midst;
mighty warrior who saves.
shall rejoice over you with joy;
renews you in his love;
will exult over you with singing. [1]
             Zephaniah 3.17
is beautiful and tender to see God celebrating you and me, singing over God’s
people, doing a little dance because God loves us. And it is reassuring to know
that this text is connected to disruption. Because most of us are dealing with
disruption in some form or another.
of Jesus: “My son whom I love.” Echoes, exactly, the form and vocabulary of the
“Akedah” of Isaac. Yahweh comes to Abraham and says, “Take ‘your son whom you
love’ and offer him as a sacrifice to God” (Genesis 22.2).
       It is beautiful and tender to hear God
claim Jesus and proclaim love for Jesus. And it is absolutely awesome to understand
that the same gifts given to Jesus in his baptism are also given to us who are
baptized into Christ. However, Mark’s gospel deliberately sets this
tenderness in the context of disruption. Unlike Isaac, for whom God provided a
ram as a substitute, Jesus died as our substitute. And death qualifies
as disruption.
the dance of delight is our dance to learn, step by step, in the midst of
disruption. And this is a theme that carries through the Scripture from
beginning to end. The beloved 23rd Psalm offers one more image of
the dance of delight in the context of disruption:
prepare before me a table
the presence of my oppressors. [2]
is, however, no easy thing to choose to dance, to find delight and joy in the
Lord in a life disrupted. And there is another option to dance that the
Scripture gives us, an option that shows up over and over in the biblical
story, the option of distance.
       The man and the woman eat the forbidden
fruit and their eyes are now open. Before, they had been naked and unashamed.
Now, they are naked and ashamed. Either way, they’re naked. But now they
can’t stand themselves. It doesn’t take much to imagine their internal voice,
because we have all heard the same things in our own heads. “I hate myself.
What’s wrong with me?” So, they hide from God and cover up from each other.
They chose distance, instead of the dance.
of the theological terms in the ancient church to describe the mystery of the
Holy Trinity is perichoresis. It is a word that means, literally, circle
dance. If you have ever been mesmerized by dance, if you have ever joined in a
circle dance and stumbled a little but been included, if you have ever seen a
child do a dance solo in the middle of the dancing circle. … You have the image
of the interpenetrating persons of the Holy Trinity in a dance that is at once
simple and intricate. Personally, I want “in” on that.
       Our experts on life design, Dale Evans
and Bill Burnett, write about a journaling technique that helps us identify joy
in our lives. What are they after? They are after a life that is designed
around delight. It is critical that we learn to identify and unlock our passion
and joy, because they are clues to how God has designed us for delight.
       And, aside from the design techniques
that Evans and Burnett offer in their wonderful book, there are spiritual
practices that help us unlock our passion as well. [Refer to handout]
·       Sabbath
– a practice to eliminate distance with God and God’s creation
·       Thank-you
notes – a practice to nurture connection with others
·       Release
a grudge – a practice to give up emotional distance
at designing these into your life and you will begin to learn to dance, even if
the sprinklers go off.
We went urinal potty
Karen Lee: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be as enthusiastic about ourselves as
God already is?” As enthusiastic as I am about my boys, God is more. As
enthusiastic as Brandy and Cameron are about Fred, God is more. “Wouldn’t it be
wonderful to be as enthusiastic about ourselves as God already is?” Let’s start
dancing church.
Bill Burnett & Dave Evans, Designing Your Life: How to Lead
a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer,
J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English
(Zep 3:17). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer,
J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English
(Ps 23:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.