We leave for the Grand Canyon in the morning. As in, the Grand Canyon. So before we’re completely caught up in that incredible experience, I wanted to write a quick post about an event we attended a few weeks ago and what the Lord taught me through it days later.
On the Sunday before Valentine’s Day, we drove up to Phoenix to attend the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest at the Heard Museum and enjoy an early Valentine’s dinner at our favorite little place, Cherryblossom Noodle Cafe. We weren’t quite sure what hoop dancing was, but we figured we’d never have another chance to attend the world championship for it! It turns out hoop dancing is a traditional Native American dance involving flexible hoops that the dancer uses to tell a story.
We saw the finals of the competition where the best of the children, youth and adults show off their skills. They used the hoops to build intricate balls, danced complicated steps while wrapping a dozen hoops around their legs, and generally made us gasp with how fast they were able to move from one pattern to the next while staying aware of where each hoop needed to be. Every dance was different, but looking back on it a few days later I realized something.
The music for each dance was basically the same.
Each dancer had a “singer” or else a tape of generally the same song. It was a constant beat with a male’s voice providing the rhythm for the dancer’s steps. Though the dances were unique, the music was identical for each one.
Sound familiar? What an awesome illustration of how we are all so different, each dancing our own steps through life, but God is providing the same, consistent rhythm for us all. We each play our own role, but He’s moving us to the same beat: that of His love for us and His desire to to bring us back into a right relationship with Him.
In Ephesians 4, Paul outlines various spiritual gifts that God gives to us. But he prefaces our differences by reminding us that there is one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. No matter how differently God uses us, we’re still all moving to the beat of one Creator. He’s still using our unique stories to tell His one story of love.
That’s easy enough to understand as a believer, but what about people who don’t believe in God? One thing I noticed at the competition is that everyone in the crowd was tapping their feet or subtly swaying along to the singer’s beat. It was impossible not to move with the rhythm, even though most of us didn’t realize it. Our movements weren’t as pronounced as the dancers’, but we were all a part of the beat. Even if you don’t believe in God, you can’t escape the fact that He created you. You rejecting Him doesn’t mean that His song is not the beat of your life as well.
Colossians 1:16-17 says this about Jesus: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Just because we didn’t designate ourselves as dancers a few weeks ago didn’t mean we weren’t participating. The singer’s beat held us all together and was the thing we all had in common that afternoon.
God made us for Him and He is the one constant among all 6 billion of us. We don’t have a say in that and we can’t change it. His beat (His will) is the rythym of our life because He chooses it to be – not because we do.
Our choice comes in this: Are we going to dance with Him or will we ignore the music?