I’m not a dancer. It used to be against my religion. But the other night I could not help it. I had to…
My wife works for Christian Horizons and they held several regional gatherings for their 50th anniversary celebration. We travelled to a dinner in Chatham along with more than 300 clients, staff and supporters of the organization. We sat at round tables, sometimes tightly packed because of the large number of wheelchairs.
At every table there was laughter, conversation and appreciation. Everywhere I looked, people were helping people. The line between helper and disabled was a blurry one. Everyone belonged at these family tables. A voice in my head whispered, “This is what the Kingdom of God is like. Honour is served at every table.”
After several speeches and award presentations, we joined a simulcast in Oakville where more speeches were given. For me, it was turning into a long night of listening and half-listening to many speakers.
When I thought I couldn’t sit any longer, the simulcast abruptly ended and the host came to the microphone and asked if people wanted to have more speeches or turn it over to the DJ and have a dance. The bubbling murmur indicated the latter.
Suddenly the sedentary room started moving toward the dance floor. Those who were falling asleep started lifted their heads to the sound of the beat. Within minutes the room was filled with shouting, laughter and singing voices. Only a handful stayed back at their seats. Many in wheelchairs were at the edges of the dance floor bopping along. A few of the chairs were in the middle.
As a non-dancer I watched until I could stand it no longer. I kept moving closer until finally I jumped into the crowd and started dancing with a few people from my church family. We looked at each other with mutual joy and I danced a few minutes with these angels, the messengers of God.
After a couple songs I slipped back to visiting and watching. But the angels kept dancing the night away. Later, I was compelled to join the line moving like a happy train around the room.
Maybe it would help us once in awhile to have more dancing and fewer speeches when we come together. Celebration is a spiritual practice that easily gets displaced by the more serious, somber exercises like prayer, fasting and solitude.