Learning to Walk on Water

Summer 2013

I once saw a saying that really spoke to me: “Be like Jesus; rebuke the storm, and if it persists, walk on it.” How many times have storms taken control of our lives? How many times have we forgotten that the Master of all storms is on our side? We forsake the God of the storm for the fear that something might happen to us during that storm.

A special person in my life loves dancing in thunderstorms. One thing you must realize about me is that I tend to be a lot older than I actually am, so this concept of dancing in the rain is foreign to me. Storms are something that inspire fear; the fierce force of nature often seems to be a paradox of dancing. I am reminded of the hymn that was written in the 1960s and had these words:

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black
it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I’d gone,
but I am the Dance and I still go on!

Sydney Carter, “Lord of the Dance” (Carol Stream, IL: Hope Publishing Co., 1963).

Friends, living this life is an art. My dog Rusty is terrified of thunderstorms. One of the things I have to do for him is cradle him when the thunder comes. There are people in your life whom you will need when the thunder comes. People who will cradle you, people who will tell you that the storm will pass. People of faith, cherish those special individuals, for they are the very light of life that is present for us. Small incarnate gifts of grace.

I might try dancing in the rain the next time a storm comes. Life is all about learning that Jesus walked above the toiling sea. Life is all about knowing that Jesus Christ became human so that we might experience the reality of love in this life, even amid the storm.

The last stanza of the hymn I mentioned earlier goes like this:

They cut me down and I leapt up high,
I am the Life that’ll never, never die;
I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.

Friends dance wherever you are in life. Dance in the midst of death, dance in the midst of sickness and health. Dance in the midst of toil and trouble, dance in the midst of joy and triumph. To go back to the hymn’s chorus, “Dance, then, wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.” Simply and directly put, when all has been said and all has been done, life is about learning to dance in the rain.

This post originally appeared in the Statesville Record, and was published in The Pulpit & the Paper: A Pastor’s Coming of Age in Newsprint by Robert W. Lee.

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