A DanceBy Colin Wicker
A good relationship is something like adance – built on the same rules. Partners in a dance do not need to hold on tightly, because they move in the same patterns, confident in each other. To touch heavily would be to arrest the pattern and freeze the movement – to check if not to stop the beauty of its unfolding. There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging are, they heavy hand. Only the barest touch in passing is sufficient to carry the deepest wealth of meaning. Now arm-in-arm, now face-to-face, now back-to-back – it doesn’t matter which. As dancers, they know they are partners responding to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together and being invisibly nourished by it. The joy of such a dance is not only the joy of creation: it is also the joy of living in, and for, the moment. The joy of knowing that lightness of touch and life itself are inter-twined.
On Resurrection Sunday, we were invited into joy through Pastor Pedro’s lingering question— “What do we do with joy?” It is a question for this Easter season and beyond. What do we do with joy when so much of life does not lead us to joy but to things such as worry, fear, or confrontation? How can we increase our awareness and openness to joy?
Through its reminder that positive relationships hold potential for joy and the beautiful image of a dance, Colin Wicker’s poem, “The Dance”, may help us. Partners in a dance do not need to force or persuade. They do not need to grab or cling. Rather, “Only the/ barest touch in passing is sufficient to/ carry the deepest wealth of meaning.” A shared rhythm unites them. Through it they are “invisibly nourished”. The rhythm is the source of creativity that births the dance.
One can imagine this rhythm, this heartbeat of the dance, as the heartbeat of life within us that is the Spirit of God. In the rhythm of our breathing. In the rhythm of our hearts beating. In the rhythm of our bodies engaged in life-giving acts. We dance with God. We dance with each other. We dance “the joy of creation…the joy of living in, and for, the moment…the joy of knowing that lightness of touch/and life itself are inter-twined.” To what joy does God call us today?
Since last year, Comunidad Límen and First Christian have joined the rhythm of a new dance through preparations for the border immersion program, Caminates Border Immersion. The program will offer learning experiences on the US-Mexico border to inspire participants’ imagination and the Christian practice of justice. The program responds to the fear-induced rhetoric about border realities with a counter-narrative based on radical welcome and hospitality.
Caminantes Border Immersion combines the shared experiences of our congregations: First Christian’s history of responding to needs of migrant siblings (currently focused on asylum-seeking individuals and families needing longer-term housing support) and Comunidad Límen members’ personal experience of migration and faith within the context of the Southern Arizona borderlands. Ultimately, we seek to build “bigger tables” and not “taller walls”, and we are excited for the inauguration of the program this year.
We will share more information in the email and in worship on opportunities for our church members to experience the program, details of hosting groups in our church, and support the program is receiving from Week of Compassion.