Lectionary resources for worship, faith formation, and service
About a million years ago, or perhaps 11, I attended my first Seasons of the Spirit writers conference. In addition to the fun of collaboration by day, we had an amazing night-out experience.
In a little community hall on a back street of Naramata, British Columbia, we attended an evening of cultural exchange amongst indigenous people from Australia, the Pacific Islands and this part of Canada. One of the offerings was a dance by the absolutely most beautiful man I’ve ever seen – a traditional dance teacher from the Cook Islands.
It was summer, but still a little chilly given where we were, and he was blithely wearing, well, not much. A flap of some sort (think fig leaf). That was distracting at first, but as he danced we were mesmerized by his grace and form and his obvious passion for the culture he knows and loves.
It was a dance about a canoe race: the men on one boat taunting the losers on the other boat, culminating in the ultimate distraction: he turned his back to us (aka the losers in the other canoe) and lifted his flap to reveal a perfectly toned…
Anyway, the point of this story is to wish that you had been there that evening to see the pride, the grace, the beauty and the invitation to fullness of life embodied in the dancer and the dance. Because then you would have a living picture of the joyful dance to which we are being invited in John 15:9-17. The dance of the friends of God.
Which reminds me of another quick Seasons writer conference story. A visit to St. Gregory’s church in San Fransisco, an amazing amalgam of Russian orthodoxy, Chinese architecture and Anglican liturgy. The communion, shared around a big slab of tree trunk for an altar. Everyone – friends, no-longer-strangers-but-new-acquaintances, everyone – arm in arm dancing the spiral dance. At St. Gregory’s, we are invited “to see God’s image in all humankind, to sing and dance to Jesus’ lead, and to become God’s friends.” The image on this post is of the icons at St. Gregory’s, dancing saints from across the centuries. See it more clearly at this link.
Pilgrim Uniting Church, Adelaide South Australia
part of the writing team from Nightcliff Uniting Church for Lent, Easter, Darwin, Australia