Joy In the Lord

As soon as I opened the church door, I could hear her singing.  The small church echoed with her exuberant joy.  I stopped to listen for a few seconds before walking quietly down the aisle to the side chapel where she stood.  Her song was light and airy and full of love.  Since she sang in Spanish, I only caught a few of her words…love…heart…Jesus.  I watched her clap softly and sway on her feet in front of the altar.  A large painting of Christ was on the wall facing us.  In front of the painting, in a golden stand, was the Object of her praising.  This was a Friday evening in our parish and we were offering Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.  I had come to pray in the presence of Jesus Christ.  My friend had come to sing and dance before the Lord.  She saw me and smiled, becoming quiet and moving to her seat.  But I stopped her and motioned for her to continue singing, assuring her without words that she didn’t disturb me.  So she sang, swaying and raising her hands for several more minutes, her eyes focused like lasers on the Blessed Sacrament.
And I thought of David.  “Then David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon…” (2 Samuel 6:14).  David’s joyous love for God came out of him in his dancing and “shouts of joy” (2 Samuel 6:15).  David didn’t let other people’s ideas of “how you’re supposed to pray” keep him from dancing.  Sometimes we believe that our way of prayer is the only right way.  We might feel that sitting quietly in His presence is the best way to pray.  But surely the Lord puts in our heart the desire to sing out in joy for His love and mercy.  Like David, our joy pours forth at times in ways we can’t contain.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our lives and are so deadly serious about God and one another that we’ve forgotten how to dance with the Divine.  Dancing and singing with the Lord can happen we forget ourselves and allow God’s joy to permeate us.  Sometimes, we just need to let go.
There’s a tradition in Celtic Christianity which envisions the Holy Spirit, not as a dove, but as a wild goose.  Most of us grew up in churches where the peaceful dove of Scripture is a well-loved image of the Holy Spirit.  A dove is delicate, docile and reassuring.  It was a dove that assured Noah that the flood was over.  Doves were used as sin sacrifices in the Old Testament.  A dove landed on Jesus’ shoulder at His baptism.  We can’t imagine a honking wild goose being delicate or quiet or peaceful!  Wild geese are free, untamable and unpredictable.  It is noisy, raucous and disruptive.  Imagining the Holy Spirit as a wild goose allows us to be led by Him into the unexpected and even wild places of the heart.  They nip us out of our comfort zones and urge us to take the path less taken…on a wild goose chase of the Spirit.  They call us to follow Christ wherever He calls us to go, to dance and sing in His presence.  As the Spirit moves to fill us, our joy overflows. Don’t be afraid to be led into places you haven’t gone before.  He is always with you.
“Let him praise His name in the dance: let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.”  —Psalm 149:3

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 04:54:07

    Should I get a Spiritual Director for my dilemma? I’m a 30 year old who is getting married in another 7 months, and here I am with a feeling/ a strong sense of feeling that God is still calling me to embark on a very different journey; to serve Him as a religious. I have had this calling for so long. But as time goes by and being so engrossed with the world, it comes and goes, and lately it is becoming so apparent. I can actually hear someone banging my door…like really loud.


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