23 August 2013

A God Who Dances

One of the great delights I have in serving as president of PlayFull is the fact that I am not doing this alone. Today's thoughts on play come from board member and friend Roland Kuhl. Roland holds a PhD in Educational Studies, so it's both humbling and incredibly encouraging he's agreed to partner with us. As lead pastor of a Mennonite church, Roland is a peace-loving theologian--as you'll read below. I invite you to allow his thoughts on "a God who dances" to speak to your heart and prompt you to join the dance. Enjoy! -Troy 

A God Who Dances
by Roland G. Kuhl
August 23, 2013

One of my favorite images of Jesus Christ is of him with his head back laughing.  I imagine his laughter must have been contagious.  I know because it makes me smile.  Now, most images we have of Christ do not elicit such a playful response – the somber images are meant to foster reverence, but imagining Christ laughing invites me to be playful. 

Likewise, images we have of God are not all that playful either.  Most people would picture God being a judge or prosecutor in a courtroom rather than being out on a playground running around playing tag.  But the Greek Orthodox use a word for describing God and the relationship among the Trinity that places us out on the playground rather than in the courtroom.

That word is perichoresis

Perichoresis is the Greek word for dance and it aptly describes the playful mutuality within the Trinitarian relationship.  Eugene Peterson in Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places expresses that “the essence of the Trinity . . . is captured here in a picture that anyone can observe in an American neighborhood barn dance” (p. 45).  And because God has been at this for aeons, I bet God is a great dancer.  If we were to watch God in the Trinity dancing we would be in awe of God’s flowing movements, the fluid rhythms, the engaging tempos. 

But there is another side to imagining the relationship among the Trinity as a beautiful dance.  God dancing is not just about God dancing – God is not trying to become the next American Idol.  But God dances in such a way in which God invites us into the dance with God. 

God is not just about himself, showing off how great of a dancer he is, being the envy of we who stand alone on the sidelines.  No, God, notices us, dances over to us, reaches out his hand and invites us into the dance.  Not a dance in which we become God, but in dancing with God we become human in ways that we never have before.  Dancing with God, we laugh with God, we play with God, we enjoy being in dance with God, and the world takes on a different perspective. 

And in dancing with God we learn to dance with others, just like we dance with God.  As we dance like God dances, we discover that our dancing leads us to forgive others, to be reconciled with those with whom we are at odds, it eradicates our desire to demean others, to be racist and sexist.  In dancing as God dances, we learn to be creative together with others, and be at peace with others.  In fact in dancing like God dances, we learn to be joyful, we learn to be playful with one another because in dancing we rediscover how to be human in the way God created us to be human.  Let’s join in with God who is always dancing among us.


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