|Painting by Zhaoming Wu|
Before the holidays John and I took Arie along with John's mom to see a Christmas ballet performance. The dances were choreographed to Christmas hymns and carols about the Savior's birth. The whole thing was profoundly beautiful; the kind of experience that moves you so deeply you find yourself holding your breath or blinking back tears.
Sometimes witnessing something so beautiful can leave you feeling entirely optimistic and satisfied. Often though, the most beautiful things abide within a strange tension between darkness and light: despair and hope. I felt that tension sitting in my seat, watching the ballet. In fact, as the dancers leaped and bowed, spun and slowed, I found a surprising thought recurring in my mind:
How dare they?
I wasn't thinking it in the typical accusatory manner; rather, I asked it with a sense of awe. The songs to which they danced weren't happy little holiday tunes; they were songs with revelatory lyrics and the most penetrating music. Songs like Oh Come Oh Come Immanuel which encompasses the hope of Christmas but more truly the deep, deep historical longing, the exile, and the desperation that anticipated Christ's birth. It was probably that hollowing music that caused me to wonder how those dancers (and choreographers, and directors, and singers and song writers) dared do something so beautiful in a world too often dark and cold.
Even as I sat joyfully beside my little boy, home just one year from an orphanage, I heard in the long calls of the cello the cries of those children who wait endlessly for families of their own. I saw in the slow sweeping movements of the dancers, pictures of refugees who, because of long and cruel wars, are made to wander the earth in search of home. Even in the dark between each act, I felt the anticipatory ache of so many who for one of a thousand reasons wonder when- or if ever- the world will seem light again.
Yet even in the face of these hard realities, there was so much beauty. Even in the face of our tragic world, these young men and women dared to rise up and dance. And we dared to witness it. Together we dared to choose life, joy, hope, and beauty even as wars rage and orphans cry and the hollow ache inside threatens to undo us.
This is Christ. This is Christ who, in the face of sin, hurt, disease, despair, anger, and pain... in the face of mockers and of shame and of the nails that pieced his hands and of the blood and water that flowed from his side... in the face of that unmeasurable brokenness dared to rise from his grave in newness of life.
I believe those dancers danced unto Christ when they dared do something so beautiful in the face of our hard world. I believe the same for those who dare paint or sketch, photograph or sculpt, write music or type stories that are beautiful even in the face of of world that is so often not.
In this season of my life as I wade deep though the pain and unmet longing of infertility, I believe the same about worship. Though so much of this life seems dark to me now, I hear my God calling me to dare worship. To dare rise up and bless his name. To look into the face of all the dark and pain of infertility and yes even Satan himself and say with the scriptures,
Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light (Micah 7:8).
Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. I dare repeat the ancient words of Job who said in his darkest hour:
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
I will surely defend my ways to his face (Job 13:15).
I will surely defend my ways to his face (Job 13:15).
Though he slay me, yet I will hope in him.
In my darkest hours when I despair to imagine what if my longing is left- for a lifetime- unfulfilled, I ask, "How can I worship?" How can I dare praise the name of the One who slays me?
I dare with the dancers. I dare unto Christ who himself dared rise. I dare worship unto the future set before me in Christ- everlasting, abundant, joyful life. I dare because I know the truth of Psalm 30:5:
...weeping may stay for the night,but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Friends, I do suffer. I do long for healing. My heart often feels broken on this journey. Yet I praise the LORD because in Christ, I am- as you are- able to look forward to eternal healing, to dance in the darkness because of the LORD is my light, to dare rise up and worship.
Thank you for daring to write this! It is beautiful and oh so True.ReplyDelete
This is truth. Beautiful, open, bare. Truth. And so wonderfully written. I don't know you in real life, but I pray for you and your family! :hugs: from Africa!ReplyDelete
Gorgeously written! Thank your for bearing your soul, your faith and your HOPE! May blessings continue to flow all around you.ReplyDelete
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Profoundly beautiful. I am deeply blessed and touched by your words. Thank you, too, for your prayers over our adoption this past week. I can't tell you how much that meant to me. Blessings to you and prayers, too. EmilyReplyDelete