Dancing as Worship

Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and flute.

-Psalm 150:4

“Now his older son was in the field; as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.

-Luke 15:25

I was thinking about a silly song that came out in 1962 and has been made popular twice since, called “The Locomotion”.

The song’s words encourage everybody to learn this dance.  This reminds me of how many Christians have never learned to dance before and to the Lord.  Most of us have learned how to sing, but not to dance.

It is as easy as learning your a, b, c’s, and if you try it you will like it, is what the song says.

Do you know how singing makes you feel better sometimes?  Dancing is the same way.

I’ve had this idea that when I sing to God and to others about God, even when I don’t feel like it, that it is like a sacrifice of praise (Ps. 49:14).  And I always end up feeling better!  It is like how smiling makes you feel better and how laughter is healing.

Dancing to and before God is the same way.  You might not feel like doing it, but when and after you do, you will feel better.  Try it, you’ll like it.

There’s never been a dance that’s so easy to do It even makes you happy when you’re feeling blue…

Dancing has always been part and parcel of praise and worship for God’s people.  Yet, I’m pretty sure, that many believers have never danced in worship and praise.

Have you ever thought about how excited people get at sporting events, with cheering, clapping, jumping up and down, and even doing a little dance right there in the one square foot they give you in front of your seat?

How much more is God worthy of our praise?  Yet, many church worship meetings are like singing songs at a funeral.  The singing is serious and dignified, while somewhat happy, and joyous.

But what about jubilation and exhilaration?  What about moving your body, because you can’t be still?

We do rock and sway a little. but what about those feet and legs?  What about whole body movement and motion cut loose to praise God?  This is not weird, but normal.

We have been held back from what is normal, if we never dance when we praise and worship.

Despising dancing to and before God as foolish is the very wrong attitude.  It is much better to just say, “I don’t know how to do that”.

Most believers know how to participate in singing, because we do it together.  We know about prayers, because we do prayers.

Now we might have limited knowledge of prayer, or something else in the Bible, because we don’t do it or experience it little.

Dancing in worship is like that.  It is Biblical and normative for believers, in the Bible, but we are not used to it, so we are unfamiliar with it, and so don’t do it.

Dancing is normal to celebrate and praise God.  When Jesus put dancing into his parable of the two sons and their dad, he was showing us that we will dance.

When Paul says that new covenant believers will participate in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; “psalms” refers to the book of Psalms, and in that book, instruments and dancing is referenced.  Musical instruments and dancing are not forbidden and you can not say that they are forbidden because the New Testament is silent, because it says, “Speak to one another in Psalms”, and the Psalms say to play instruments and dance.

Tie Ephesians 5:19 back to Psalm 150.

“Praise him with tambourine and dance.  Praise him with string and flute.” -Psalm 150:4

Do you have to dance?  No.  But the person that wrote Psalm 150 invites us to.

Come Dancing

My love calls to me:

Arise, my darling.
Come away, my beautiful one.
For now the winter is past;
the rain has ended and gone away.
The blossoms appear in the countryside.
The time of singing has come,
and the turtledove’s cooing is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs;
the blossoming vines give off their fragrance.
Arise, my darling.
Come away, my beautiful one.

-Song of Songs 2:10-13

Come dancing.  Have you heard God say that?

What would that mean?  I think that when we dance, we have stopped being passive and instead activated.  Dancing is moving.

When I am moving, I can be guided or ‘course corrected’.  The motion of dancing gives me the ability to be guided.  ‘Come dancing’ is similar to, ‘let’s take a walk”, ‘get up and go’, ‘now, run’.

If someone invites you to dance, they are asking you to join the dance, with them or with others.  The invitation implies the plurality of dancing.  People dance solo or privately all the time, but that is not what this is about.

In God’s story, shared in the Bible, His people are His wife and His bride.  God has always been like a husband who loves and shares with his bride.  This includes going away with God and letting God love us.

God would naturally say to us, ‘let me share with you’, ‘let us eat together’, and ‘come dance with me’.

The life that God has always wanted for His people is a close relationship, like in the old hymn, “He lives”, where it has the words, “He walks with me and talks with me”.  Our God is a relational person who walks with us and talks with us.

That is the backdrop of God saying, “Come dancing”.  And “Come dancing” is different than “Let’s dance”.  God is perhaps saying that there is a dance already in progress,  and He is inviting us to join in.

Did you know that the Bible views dancing as wholesome and is commended?

Did you know that God invented dancing?  Dancing is actually a godly thing to do.
You may not be a natural dancer.  One of the most awkward things I ever did was take part in an audition for West Side Story.  I soon discovered that this was not my thing.  
I remember a very popular Christian teacher, who opined about dancing  He said that since it would be awkward to lead someone to Christ, while dancing, we should not dance.  But he was giving an opinion about youth dancing to secular music: it it ok or not ok?  “Not ok”, he said.

From just listening to this one man, I never knew that there was legitimate, wholesome God-endorsed dancing, in the Bible.  Later, I did discover dancing in the Bible, and I thought that while we read of Jewish people dancing, from time to time, that it must just be cultural; because I never saw dancing in church or in any Christian context.

Dancing in the Bible is not liturgical.  Liturgy is the high church word that means ‘service’, and that is where we get the descriptive title for formal church gatherings called ‘church services’.  We say, “Are you holding services?”, to people starting a new church; and the idea is commonly held that ‘church’ means ‘services’ at a ‘building’, with people.  So, people + building + service = church, is what is commonly held to be the definition of ‘church’.  Only one third of that equation is correct or New Testament.

The NT teaches that the people are the church and the the gathering of the church is not about buildings, small or large, nor is it about service or liturgy.  The gathering is about people gathering in Jesus name, for Jesus mission and cause, in his love that we express towards other followers of Jesus, who have also left everything behind for him, to invite people who do not know him to also follow him.

On the other hand, churches, like synagogues, do have liturgies; ‘things we do when we gather’.

Liturgy equals ‘what we do’.  “What’s your liturgy, man?”

An easy example of liturgy or what we say makes a (real) church service, is singing.  It is hard to recall a church meeting without singing.

Many people, by far the majority in my experience, equate church with singing.  We also equate ‘church’ as being something we go to.  But the NT teaches that the church is something we are.

Today, many people think that church is something you go to, to sing.

But, singing is neither what defines or makes a church.  Singing is a liturgical thing we like to do.  And it feels good too.

Same thing with sanctified dancing.  But some Christians who love to sing, don’t see dancing as appropriate.  Yet, they are both things people like to do to both celebrate and worship.

If church is not a building or services, then what is church?  Church is intimate fellowship with Jesus and each other, around Jesus.  The communion with Him and his people involves sharing.  Sharing stories, sharing food, sharing life and sharing our stuff and money.

Church life may include dancing, but it is not part of the liturgy or service, because the duty, liturgy or service of the church that marks or defines the church is loving one another from Jesus love.

The only liturgy or service direction that we were given is to love one another and serve one another and to go out and tell others about Jesus.

Dancing has a place in church life, when if is spontaneous or celebratory.  The people danced in Jesus story of the two sons and their father, in Luke chapter 15.

And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
-Luke 15:23-5

If Jesus had dancing in a story he made up, that was an expression of celebration and spontaneous jubilation; we can take that as an example of when dancing is a good thing.

In Bible times and today, there has been pagan, cultic and erotic dancing that is not the kind of dancing that believers take part in.  When we suggest that believers can dance in life, or in church, some of us are chagrined, because we think of dancing as worldly.  But the job of the god of the world has always been to corrupt and twist what started off as wholesome.  And redemption means to take those back and put them back to their original function.

Have you ever thought about angels and dancing?  In the same chapter in Luke where Jesus includes the scene of the people dancing, he also says that when sinners repent, that angels experience joy in God’s presence.  The thread, in Luke 15, that ties the reality of angels experiencing joy, with Jesus story of the returned prodigal, is the joy in heaven and celebration on earth.

“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.

“Or what woman who has 10 silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her women friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”
-Luke 15:4-10

Jesus has music and dancing in his story.  Many Christians are uncomfortable with dancing and especially dancing in church.  Why would people dance in church, they ask.  The answer is Luke 15 and the admonitions to dance in worship in the OT:

Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and lyre.
Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with flute and strings.
-Psalm 149:3, 150:4

 Music with instruments and dancing, for worship, praise and celebration is from the Bible.  Anyone who would say that instrumental music or dance do not belong in the church, has either not read Luke 15, or they do not see Father God and his family there, of which every church is a part of today.  
In the Bible, there is wholesome dancing, that is commendable.  Dancing is also a metaphor.
If God is saying, “Come dancing”, to you; He might be saying, “Let’s go live”.  When we dance, we draw attention to ourselves, because of all the movements.  God might be saying, “Get up and shine”, like the word in Isaiah.
When you come out to dance, you may be dancing before God, with God or with others.  There is a ‘self-esteem’ lift to dancing, because you are out there and visible and vulnerable.  Others might laugh at you or commend you as you dance.  And when we dance, most of us must let go of our pride, because dancing is humbling.
Dancing, in its putting us out there, in humility, makes us recipients of grace.
There has been a time to sit and watch life go by.  But now is the time to get up and dance.
The voice of the bridegroom summoning you to come, is what empowers you to arise and go.
Jesus never planned to have us live passive lives.  Jesus never planned to have us be a holy people who are enclaved from the world.  And He never intended for us to be experts but not practitioners.

Hear God say, “Come dancing”.

The Brilliant Dance of Your Life

The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters.

-Romans 8:19 (CEB)
I believe that our life, as believers, is meant to be a brilliant dance.  It is a dance of the soul and our partner, who dances with us in brilliance, is the Spirit of God.
We sparkle and we shine.  We whirl and are vivacious.  Those watching us often will say, “How did they do that?”
The brilliant dance is when you do something remarkable.  You are a person who comes out of obscurity and brings leadership to a situation.  You are a person who knows what is to be done and says it out loud.
That is the brilliance of you and the dance of your life.  It is a dance of your soul and your partner is God.
The whirling and twirling of you life: “How did they do that?”, onlookers will say; is because of the dynamism of God inside your life.
You seemed to come out of nowhere.  They will say, “Where did you go to school”, or, “Where did you learn to do that?”; when you shine.
You shine, you sparkle and you do and say brilliant things; because of God.
Every single one of God’s children are meant to be brilliant.  Each one.  God’s plan has never been for only a few believers to be brilliant and for the rest of us to passively look on.
Every single believer is a jewel.  Each of us are precious to God and to each other.  We all sparkle and shine.  Every single one of us is destined for brilliance.
Every child of God is engaged to God in the brilliant dance of our souls.  Each one of us is destined for something spectacular.  Sounds too good to be true, because it is God’s brilliant idea.
Each one of us are God’s brilliant idea.  There is not one child of God that is not destined to be brilliant: to shine, to sparkle and to have a light that gives glory to God.
If you did not know this or if you gave up or if you are somehow or some way out of commission, get ready to be recommissioned by the Spirit of God.  Get ready to be called out to the dance floor that is your life and your soul with the real living God, the Spirit of God who is the helper, the counselor and the comforter.
Get ready for God to make you shine, sparkle and be brilliant.  Get ready to hear onlookers in your life notice you and have their mouths open and all gasp as they see what God does with you.

The Great Joy of Seekers

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.
And when they saw the star, they were so ecstatic that they shouted and celebrated with unrestrained joy.

-Matthew 2:10 (HCBS, TPT)
Joy is a remarkable emotion that we get to experience.  And in the birth story of Jesus, the people who experienced incredible joy were the wise men, from the east.

They were experts at reading stars. They were interested in magic, dream interpretation and the future.  Magicians is what they were (“Magi”) and they seemed to be honest inquirers of the truth.  Some other magicians in the Bible were indeed charlatans (Acts 8:9, 13:6-8).

The Magi did not just feel some joy or gladness, but the way Matthew writes it, is that they were exuberant and ecstatic.  “Overjoyed beyond measure”, or “So ecstatic that they shouted and celebrated with unrestrained joy”.  They were “thrilled” (CEV), “could hardly contain themselves” (MSG), “their joy knew no bounds” (TLB) and they were, “overjoyed and enraptured” (VOICE).

Keep in mind also that their explosion of joy was just over seeing that star (again).  It was only the guiding sign that caused them go wild with joy.  They had not seen Jesus yet.

Most of us, in my western, predominantly european rooted, caucasian culture know almost nothing of this kind of joy.  When was the last time that you jumped up and down or ran in circles or danced or shouted with unrestrained joy, over a piece of guidance that you believed was is from God?

I would bet that many believers have never danced for joy over a sign from God.  And I think that many believers would say that people who would unleash a public display of extreme joyousness are crazy.  Or perhaps many of us would just be uncomfortable seeing this sort of response in public.

To be fair, there are probably many believers who do not have a negative opinion about exuberant celebration and unrestrained joy; but just do not roll that way, because nobody around them does it or encourages it.

I know people, who attend churches where the people dance in worship.  In my past, I attended a church, where we danced with unrestrained joy, during our worship times.

It has always been funny to me, that in our western culture, we yell and scream at sports games; and dance is a part of our culture, but mostly only in either productions or in night clubs; but not in church or when we gather with believers.

Eugene Petersen calls the Magi, “A band of scholars”.  Brian Simmons calls the Magi, “A group of spiritual priests'”.  Other translations commonly say “Wise men”, and a few dare to say, “Astrologers”.

Maybe these guys are, what we in our western Christian culture, would call “New Agers”?  This fits better for me, than saying that they were part of a cult, which implies they were religious or practitioners of a religion.  Closer still would be to say that they were in the occult.

Occult means hidden and different.  Witches and warlocks who practice witchcraft are occult.  Are magicians, people who practice non-Judeo/Christian spirituality, and magicians who are more than illusionists in the occult?  Maybe and probably.

We have to get our heads around how people can have a spirituality outside of the Judeo/Christian framework, and be seeking God.  There is some mystery surrounding these wise men.  All we know is that they were these people called Magi, which is short for magician, and that they were ‘star gazers’ and ‘star scholars’, who somehow discerned the special light in the sky, that signaled the birth of The King of the Jews.

Some have postulated the theory that these guys were descendents from people who were influenced by Daniel.  They learned about God, The Jews, and the coming Messiah, from Daniel or the teachings passed down from Daniel.  Maybe.  (Dan. 2:48 & 9:24-27)

What is notable is that these people were searching for Messiah and they were not Palestinian Jews.  They were from outside the area and were not connected to Jerusalem, the center of Judaism.  And they were not just explorers or historians or researchers.  They were worshipers.

These guys were ‘off-the-map’, ‘off-the-grid’ and ‘outside-the-camp’ from traditional believers.  Yet, they were guided, knew exactly who they were seeking, desired to worship him, traveled a great distance in danger and brought expensive gifts to give the King of the Jews.

These wise men remind us that giving gifts back to Jesus, who is the gift, and the King, is what this whole thing is about.

The reason they followed the star that pointed them to the Jerusalem area, but evidently not Jerusalem itself, was to worship a child who was born King.  In the time of Jesus birth, there had been the ‘Messianic Expectation’ in Israel.  But it was much more fever pitch in some quarters, like perhaps with the Essenes.

Herod did not consult with the Essenes, but with Sadducees and Pharisees, who ended up being hostile to Jesus, during his ministry, ultimately killing him for impersonating Messiah.

The joy of the wise men is in stark contrast to the indifference of the priests and the scribes.  We read that “Jerusalem was alarmed” at the news that the wise men brought.  They were not joyous and we have no record of Jerusalemites who followed the wise men’s lead and also wanted to find the Messiah child and worship him.

Because of Herod’s brutality, that is illustrated later in the chapter, when he kills all the children in Bethlehem, two years old and under, we can understand the alarm in Jerusalem, to a certain extent.  But the larger scope of the story is that God chose to be born into such a dangerous time, under the nose of a brutal tyrant.

When God comes inconveniently and dangerously, are we going to reject God or follow joyfully?

The part of the story I am looking at is how these Magi were overjoyed in their journey, even before finding Jesus, which is sadly contrasted with the indifference of the Jewish leaders and the people of Jerusalem, who were more upset that Herod would get mad than being lit up and curious about the birth of the savior and their King.

The point might be or the application for us today is that God may be leading people outside the normal Christian paradigm, perhaps people we would describe as “New Agers”, to himself.  I do not claim to know if they have been born again yet.  But they have a radical purity of heart.

These people are on a journey to find God.  They are excited about the journey they are on.  And God is leading them.

But they may not be Christians, from their own self-identification or from how believers see them.  These seekers are guileless, apolitical and child-like in their pursuit of God.

They are coming and God is guiding them to Jesus.  The question for us is this:  Will we help them find Jesus?  Or will be be put off by their culture, their false, fake, counterfeit, spooky and deceived beliefs, shewing them or shunning them?  Will we block the way to Jesus?  Or will we throw open the way to Him, seeing seekers as people God is saving?

Will we join into the exuberant, extravagant celebratory joy of the seekers who are finding?  Will we allow very different people to belong to God’s family (our family) before they have become children of God?  Can we allow people who do not have their doctrine straight to worship the King and bring him extravagant gifts?

YES!

Joy is a remarkable emotion that people experience when God is leading them into knowing Jesus.  There is a joyful rejoicing that is overflowing in the life of a person who is discovering Jesus.  We love to see and experience this with everyone.


The Deeper Life

Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.

-Psalm 42:7
I am a person who is interested in going deeper.  As a young man, I devoured books on the deeper Christian life.  My quest for depth took me into the experience of so much joy, that I smiled all the time.  I was also introduced to the experience of deep sorrow and pain.
I found out that deeper means the whole package: joy and sorrow.  I found out that the reason Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted is that many people, including me, have had broken hearts that need Jesus.  There is a tension in seeking the deeper life in God, in that when God takes you deeper, when you go deeper with God, you experience the depths of joy and sorrow.
When I first looked at Psalm 42, as a young man, I thought it was just about hunger for God.  And it is true that it is about hunger for God.  “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you”, is about hunger, longing, and desire for God.  But the rest of the Psalm is harder to digest or face, because it is about deep pain and sorrow.
Psalm 42 is about weeping, loss and depression, along with seeking God.  “As the deer pants”, is a beautiful, poetic picture.  The deer is thirsty, and so are we.
Another interpretation, is that the deer is panting, longing for the protection of the stream, where it’s scent will be hidden from predators.  We also desire to be in God’s presence, which is the place of immunity from the enemy.  We want to escape the taunting, the attacks, the abuse and the temptations of the dark forces; so we seek to be closer to God, where we find safety and comfort.
Psalm 42 is about, “let is be over”, and the ‘it’ is the pain.  The Bible is a book filled with stories of victory and joy, but also defeat and sorrow.  The Bible teaches and models going through and experiencing both fully.
If we are full grown believers, we will know how to have full joy and full sorrow.  Most of us have not grown up into knowing how to experience either, and we might even judge those who do as ‘extreme’.  Many of us have learned to be stoic and even live out of touch with our emotions.
My desire is to experience the depths of joy and the depths of sorrow.  Let us be people who weep, grieve and groan, and people who  cry tears of joy, dance for joy and vocalize their joy with shouts and laughter.  This is what the authentic people of God have always been like and what we will be as we go deeper.
“Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me”, is a picture of the deep life in God.  Whatever the depth of my sorrow, God goes there with me.  His presence is in my deepest sorrow, grief and loss.  I have always been asking for more joy and more love and more power too, but not more pain.
But I have immense pain, immense loss; and while I do not minimize it, I also do not inflate it and I know that others have had much worse tragedies and immeasurable suffering.  But pain is pain and loss is loss and suffering is suffering; and whatever mine or yours has been; the great revelation is that God goes there with us.  God wants to walk through the door and into the feelings of pain, sorrow, depression, loss, anger, grief, hopelessness and suicide.  
Yes God does want this for us.  He wants to come into the darkest, most painful places in our hearts, in our memories, and in our past that haunts us.  God wants to be there with us.
This is what the calling out is to, the prayer up is to and the cry of Psalm 42 is all about.  God wants to come into the painful places.  To all of our losses, suffering, disappointments and experiences of injustice is where God wants to go with us.
We often want suffering to just go away or disappear and we ask God for all the good things, the blessings, to replace all the bad things.  And God does lavish upon us many blessings and many good things and even joy and happiness.  But if we do not grieve our losses, mourn, feel, cry, and let it out; then we can not fully experience the good things, because part of us is missing and non-functional.
God wants to walk with us, through our sorrow and pain, so that we have the security to know we are loved in our ugliest, most shameful, depressed, hopeless, trapped rage places of our hearts.  We will see God there and know that he is Lord of the low and the high places.    When we live with and deeply experience God in sorrowful times, our lives in joyful and blessed times become richer, because we know we are loved at all times and in all places.

Church Like A Soiree

He has brought me to the house of wine (banqueting house or hall);
his banner raised over me is love.
-Song of Solomon 2:4

Soiree:
“An evening party or gathering, typically in a private house, for conversation or music.”

Celebrations, Parties, and Feasts

The Jewish culture is filled with celebrations that are like family reunions or mega block parties and there are ten of these every year, called the feasts.  Yes, God invented feasting.

If God instituted these feasts, it tells you something about what is good for God’s people.  When we party, we have enjoyment before God and with people.  It is that simple.

A soiree is in the evening (soir means evening), is typically at a private house, and it is for conversation or music.  Why the party (soiree)?  For conversation.  Why the conversation?  So people get to know each other?  Why?  We need people.  We all need to belong.  No one is an island, even if they act like it.

The Kingdom of God, as one author put it, is a party.

By the way, if most of this seems like, “duh”, common sense; I am writing this for myself and the minority of people who don’t get it.   If you have recently become a Christian, you probably know the feeling of celebration.  I personally, was raised in a Christian family, but chose to go my own way after high school and was a rebel and a prodigal son.  Through God’s amazing love, I was brought back to walking with Father, no-holds-barred.  Having gone away and come back, my life was a jaw-dropping celebration in God’s love.  My life was a celebration and conversation.

Celebration Services

Why do Christians gather in the greater gatherings?  To celebrate!  Many folks might think we gather to be taught, or to take holy communion (The Lord’s Supper, The Eucharist).  These are good things that are important.

But when you see Jesus, when you get saved, when you receive the love of God; what is the one thing you want to do more than anything else?  CELEBRATE!

Throw Parties

Think about it, in the parable of the two sons, sometimes called the parable of the prodigal son; when the prodigal son returned, what did his father do?  He threw a huge party!  He did not get out his scrolls and have a Bible study.  He did not gather everyone and give them a sermon.

Living Epistles Need To Testify

Do you understand that our lives are sermons, test-i-monies?  When did you last hear someone give their testimony.  Wasn’t it wonderful?  We are living epistles.  We are witnesses who testify.  Members of the body, telling of the wonders of God in their lives; that is the authentic Church.  That is what is supposed to happen when the church gathers.  The body of Christ comes alive and all the parts take part.  That’s church, that’s ecclesia.

The church should have soiree’s regularly.

Again, a soiree is an evening party or gathering, typically in a private house, for conversation or music.

Evening

Evening means it is the last activity of your day, before bedtime.  You are not pre-occupied with the next task after this gathering like lunch, shopping, or chores.  Evening also implies dressing up a bit: an evening gown, or evening attire.  These are not mandatory, but enjoyable.  There is something also different that is enjoyable about evening time.  Moonlight, candlelight, or festive lights outdoors.

Party

Party means celebration.  What are you celebrating?  As I said earlier, God created celebration and parties.  Like everything, the world has corrupted what is good.  Christ comes into our lives a renews us.  God’s people should be the ones who really know how to party, how to laugh, how to love, and how to be hospitable.

Hospitality

Soiree’s are gatherings that are typically in homes.  We Christians have gatherings, like teas, pot-lucks, harvest celebration parties, and picnics; in or around our church buildings; and that is good.  But soiree’s are in homes, usually.

Why in homes and what difference does that make?  When we have people into our homes, we are showing hospitality.  Some people think that hospitality is a spiritual gift that only a select few Christians have, but that is not true.  All Christians are commanded to be hospitable (Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:9).  It is also interesting that being hospitable (opening your home) is placed before being able to teach, as a qualification for elders (1 Timothy 3:2).

Hospitality also involves food.  Eating is in the Bible, from cover to cover.  Food facilitates fellowship.

Conversation

Soiree’s are for conversation.  We need to converse.  We each need to know each other and be known by each other.  God designed us like this.  The case could be made that the Christian life is done together.  We have many conversations where belonging is nurtured and growing occurs.  Learning occurs mainly in conversations.

Music

We gather or party to have conversation or for music.  Two things we do with music at a party or gathering are to listen to music and enjoy it, or we dance to music together and enjoy it.

Expression through Music

Music is a universal form of expression.  Christians, who are indwelt by God, are the most creative people on the planet.  Expression of worship, praise, lament, and poetic observation come through music.  Music at your soiree may be a small combo, a singer with one instrument, a harpist. a flute, or percussive instruments; just to name some examples.  People may read poetry also and display art.

Joy

How are you doing with joy?  How are you doing with expressing your joy through music and dance?  Did you know that you can worship the Lord through dancing?  If you wear a robe or a suit, you may have to take off that robe or that suit jacket, if you are a man.

Church like a Soiree

Take back the night.  Take back celebration, parties, and gatherings called Soiree’s.  What if life in heaven was closer to a soiree, as I have described it, than your average church service?  Remember when Jesus said to pray, “on earth as it is in heaven”?  Did you know that they celebrate in heaven when one of us down here repents (Luke 15:7)?

What if the blueprint for how to do church is already written in the NT and it boils down to gathering together for conversation and music, with food, at someones house?  We have communion together.  We listen to one another’s artistry in music and we might enter in to worship of the King, in a natural way, like breathing heaven’s air.

A new believer may get baptized as well and publicly acknowledge their new found faith in Christ.  Do you believe in natural, home births?  I’m glad we have hospitals and doctors, for when it is the exceptional, difficult birth.  Some people make new-birth very difficult, when the actual hard part was accomplished by Jesus.

I already mentioned that we may worship together to simple melodies shared by musicians or poets at the soiree gathering.  In our conversations, needs for prayer may come up, and right there, we will pray for one another, in a natural way.

It’s that simple.

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