The Dance

The Dance Floor

The Dance Floor

One of the Dancers

One of the Dancers

In New Seeds of Contemplation, Merton wrote:

For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of the wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomenon of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it. And it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it or not. (At 297)

Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.

We are invited to join in the dance. Yesterday, as I sat in my gazebo (pictured above) for some morning quiet time and prayer, I was gifted. For a while I became part of the cosmic dance. It went somewhat like this.

I sensed I was being looked at as I stared out across the water and the fairway. I looked over my right shoulder and a deer was staring at me. She walked from behind me unto the tee and looked again. It was if I was out of place, not supposed to be there. She was checking me out. I moved slightly and she moved back behind me. She came and looked again and then gracefully loped to the other side of the pond. She soon retuned and checked me out some more.

Then, I found out. She was the advance scout. She returned with another doe and a two point spike buck. They checked me out and then loped to the other side of the pond. They ate grass and played, chasing one another. One doe came back and then the other. Finally, the buck returned. They assembled on the tee and looked at me once more before they went back into the wilderness.

For a while, just a brief moment in time, I was gifted by the Creator. I was part of the cosmic dance, the morning ritual of the deer. In describing it, I probably have tarnished it but, for a brief while, I was part of something bigger. I was one with these deer and more one with God and God’s creation.

I returned to the gazebo for morning prayer today. They did not return—just a few graceful birds gliding across the pale blue morning sky. Jesus is the “Lord of the Dance.”

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon & the Stars & the Sun
I came down from Heaven & I danced on Earth
At Bethlehem I had my birth:

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said He!
(…lead you all in the Dance, said He!)

I danced for the scribe & the pharisee
But they would not dance & they wouldn’t follow me
I danced for fishermen, for James & John
They came with me & the Dance went on:

I danced on the Sabbath & I cured the lame
The holy people said it was a shame!
They whipped & they stripped & they hung me high
And they left me there on a cross to die!

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 & they thought I’d gone
But I am the Dance & I still go on!

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!

Dance! Dance! Dance!

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