The Hard Choreography of Communion

{By Laura Boggess}

 

{I remember linking up with Laura Boggess’ Playdates with God, back in the days of 2011. Years of connecting online have lead me to know that our “pen pal” relationships have value on these inter-webs,  especially once I met Laura in person at Laity Lodge last year.  At Laity, Laura’s soft-spoken voice marveled with me as we tried to identify a species of a particular ornate yellow tree which stood in contrast to Mesquites and Cedars. And though we don’t have her audible voice today, we consider Outside the City Gates a place of fellowship, the best we can, through words. Each guest writer is our way of entrusting them to you as we squeeze their shoulders in loving support. 

We’re grateful Laura is that guest today. ~Tammy H.}

 

 

God is a community.

 

That’s what my pastor says.

 

And I remember the dance, that word perichoresis, which the church fathers used to describe this unique community. Perichoresis, from the Greek peri-, meaning around and –chorein, to dance. A beautiful picture of the way the Three Persons indwell each other and yet move through and around each other in a divine dance.

 

I carry this image with me into prayer group and during the sharing of stories, I listen. It is the bow of the dance; the gentle taking of the hand—this listening. We are a community.

 

We dance.

 

I close my eyes and feel the sway, the way this being together can be lithe and beautiful. And this is good and lovely but what of the hard stuff? How do we dance there?

 

Later in the week we have our small group friends over and we talk about friendship—how we need each other and how scary that can be. I have to leave early, though, so we don’t go too deep. But the lesson settles under my skin, becomes air, as I slide into the church pew for the memorial service.

 

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There’s a little boy in the pew right in front of me and he looks so small. He is wearing a plaid shirt with red threaded through baby blue. This little boy lost his father this week and I can’t stop thinking how small he is. That bright red thread running through the blues across his back distracts me and I can’t think of anything else.

 

But he leans over and says something and I see him smile and that’s when I notice them. These two other little boys that flank his right and left. They are in plaid too and this trio of intermingling threads—the blues and browns and reds and grays—it makes my heart swell.

 

Is this part of the dance too?

 

The place is full and we sing praise and we pray together and people tell stories about a man who loved Jesus and other people. And those three boys don’t leave each other. It somehow feels wrong to write about how brave grief must be but it is a story we all know. And we stand in line for almost an hour to thread ourselves into this telling and we are drawn deeper in. And when I hug that little boy’s mama I am weaving love.

 

On the way back to the car I think how odd these traditions are and I wonder about the soul-weary tired I saw etched in the lines of her face. But there was something else too—something stitched together with every hug, every tear, every word, every touch…

 

Oh, how we need each other.

 

Later, I sit out on the deck with my husband in the dark. It’s 65 degrees at 9 O’clock at night in the middle of autumn and we need to sit where there are no walls. He lights a candle and the shadows of trees make etchings on the side of our house. He talks about things pressing on his heart but all I can think about is the beauty of the way the threads of life dance, stitching us together, binding us with love crisscrossed through our hearts.

 

Sorrow is one of the threads that knit us all together; this kind of hurt is part of the journey. But if I want to join in the dance—then I must join in fully. Because it is when there is holding back—when I hesitate—this is when the dance falters.

 

To join in the dance of God means to love as he loves. Unabashedly, unafraid in the hard places.

 

Do I know how to dance this way?

 

This is the question I ask myself and I feel that holy dance surround me. We were made for community in the good and the bad and it’s easy for me to forget because the way I live so much inside of my head most days. But this morning, echoing in my mind are the gentle reminders of crisscrossed threads and I feel it in my bones: Love will lead the hard choreography.

 

All I need do is follow.

 

 

{photo credit: Tammy, @Legacy Lodge}

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laura Boggess005 copy Laura J. Boggess I’m a morning person and happiest in a place with no walls. Give me a bed of grass and a blanket-sky and I will dream deep in wonder. But a good story takes me to this place too. And a poem? Even better. You can always find me here. Or connect with me on on facebook, twitter, or pinterest.

 

 

 

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Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grownup World by Laura J. Boggess This “little” book keeps selling out at Amazon, but you are in the right place to receive one. We are giving one away!  We’ll announce who that is, next Wednesday on November 5th. Leave a comment or share this post to enter the giveaway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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27 Comments on “The Hard Choreography of Communion

  1. Oh…. oh. Laura. Your words here move my depths. My life is about learning to love unabashed in the painful places. I long to live this dance well. Really – thank you so much for this today.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Dana. The steps of the dance are always changing, aren’t they? Letting God lead…sometimes it is hard to do. But there is such freedom and comfort in his arms. Much love to you as you follow his lead.

  2. “To join in the dance of God means to love as he loves. Unabashedly, unafraid in the hard places.” Oh yes…I so want Him to lead me in this beautiful dance!!! Thanks Laura

    • Thanks for stopping over here, Ro. The entire idea of the Trinity is such the mystery. That we are invited into this dance just takes my breath away. Much love today, sweet friend!

  3. A beautiful dance, Laura, a weaving in and out of lives. And yes, sorrow is one of the strains of music that we are called to dance to, that binds us tightly, more tightly than some of the others. And if/when we step on a few toes, there is grace. Thank you for sharing in this space. ❤ you.

  4. I shared but am also choosing to leave a comment. A delightful read. We are, after all, all a part of the dance. It’s good to be reminded.

  5. Laura, this is so beautifully poigant–variegated threads of all life’s vicissitudes, including the hardest–death–woven into a pattern of beauty by a skilled author of God. I’m deeply touched. Sometimes dancing (this kind–death) is not for the faint of heart…..but when we feel like fainting, we know we can but fall into our Dance Parnter’s embrace. Beautiful, Laura!
    Love
    Lynn

  6. Laura, upon further reflection of your soulful insights, I couldn’t help but think that Jesus knew the hard dance, and because He did, He’ll teach us the steps, so that we don’t dance alone in the tragedies of life. I think of the words of this beautiful hymn about His dance…….

    Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
    I would my true love did so chance
    To see the legend of my play,
    To call my true love to my dance;

    Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
    This have I done for my true love.

    Then on the cross hanged I was,
    Where a spear my heart did glance;
    There issued forth both water and blood,
    To call my true love to my dance.

    Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
    This have I done for my true love.

    • Lynn! I do not know that hymn. If you can find a recording of it, will you send me a link? I would love to hear the melody that goes with these beautiful words. Yes, he would never leave us to dance alone. This is grace and this is the mystery of the One who is Love, the one who woos us into the greatest romance.

      I’m so grateful for you and your beautiful heart.

      • I LOVE this hymn and have sung it. Will see what I can do. It has a ton more verses, too. =] Yes, He woos us into the great mystery. How can we not say yes?
        So grateful to you, too, and our darling Shelly who connected us.
        xxoo
        L

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  8. Thank you for this beautiful reflection on community. I recently led funeral services for a dear member of our church, and as I continue to walk with those who mourn his passing, this is the line that I am holding in my heart today: “Sorrow is one of the threads that knit us all together.”

  9. I like the idea of a dance. My wife and I are currently on sabbatical from church. We are dancing alone, and every conversation of ours become the music of that dance. Someday soon we will thread again into a local body. Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. Pingback: The Hard Choreography of Communion

  11. Pingback: What's in Store for Us, 2014 in Review, & Link Ups - outside the city gate

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