Last night, I stumbled upon the show, So You Think You Can Dance. Normally, I am at church on Wednesday nights, but last night my youngest daughter was sick. She had a fever and as a result everything on her body hurt (except her knees, she informed me). So as I rocked her gently on my shoulder, I cruised aimlessly though the channels.
I paused on the dancing show. Okay, I’ll admit in my younger years I wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer, and I still dance around my living room with my kids. So curiosity got the best of me. I stopped to see if this show was a display of some awesome dancing, or just another show providing an opportunity to laugh at humanity from the comfort of our couch.
It was the finals, so I had the opportunity to see the best of the season. It was mildly interesting, until about the third or fourth dance. I was genuinely moved by a performance that clearly portrayed the story behind the choreography. A couple of dances later, another contestant really put his passion behind his moves. Every turn, every jump, every arch of his back and extension of his arm portrayed the emotion behind the story. He pulled you in just as any well-written character would draw you into a book.
A couple of years ago, I visited our worship leader’s music class to do some research for a book I was writing. Again, I was amazed as the beauty of a story unfolded, this time behind the voices of the students and the sound of the instruments. As she moved about the group, her body and arms moving with the music, she sporadically gave the students technical vocal instruction, “don’t let it die…it’s still forte” as well as reminding them of the story behind the song, “They’ve died…they’re gone.”
A story is a story, and it can be told through many means…different tools in the hands of a story teller. It is easy to see how a writer can place carefully chosen words just so in a sentence to tell a story that conveys everything they wanted their reader to grasp. But stories are not just limited to books. A cellist can pull their bow across the strings of their cello and voice the despair of a woman who just lost her husband. And artist can mix just the right hue; sketch just the right lines and shadows to depict the mountain of fear and uneasiness that burdens a man’s heart. A choreographer can place a dancer’s feet, entwine and extend their arms just so, to display the passionate love between two people.
God, the greatest author of all time, is telling a story through us. We are his tools. Like the choreographer, he carefully places our hands and feet just so. Our voices are the instruments used in composing His symphony. He paints His emotions on the lines of our faces; His love is etched into every facet of the background of our lives.
One of the judges last night said a choreographer is looking for a dancer that is consistently doing what is asked of them, regardless. Additionally, when the contestant moved from nailing the steps perfectly, to also placing their passion in every step, they became an artist.
So are you that dancer for God? Are you just moving through the steps without any passion that conveys the depth of the story being told through you? Are you painting by numbers, or painting a masterpiece spurred by the fire placed within you to tell His wonderful story. Does your life sing the simplicity of Mary had a Little Lamb, or the wonder behind the song, Mary Did You Know? Are you Hop on Pop, or a representation of the living, breathing Word of God walking the streets, drawing others to the beauty of the story being told through your eyes, your hands, your voice and your feet?