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May I have this dance?

We wanted to be ready.

Linda and I were thrilled. The summer 2010 wedding of our son Ben to Ashley was just months away. They were (and are) a great couple, and an excellent outdoor venue was confirmed in Santa Cruz, California at my favorite golf course, Pasatiempo.

There was only one detail for which we felt woefully unprepared.

As Father and Mother of the Groom, we envisioned ourselves during the reception being invited onto the dance floor – her with Ben, or dancing together – with two hundred people rating our technique by holding up score cards.

OK, no cards. But we were nervous. We simply wanted to feel confident and somewhat relaxed.

But how?

That spring we signed up for weekly ballroom dance lessons at the community center, with hopes that we could do the swing without stumbling or stepping on each other’s toes.

I learned two things. First, Linda is a good dancer, and it was fun to see her glide gracefully across the dance floor … with our instructor.

I also discovered that I’m a lousy dancer. I love the idea of dancing. I have the rhythm in my head. But my obsession with getting all the steps right just makes the dance go wrong. For both of us.

Yep, we became dance-school-dropouts.

The day arrived, and the wedding ceremony and the reception were tremendous. It was a beautiful celebration we’ll always treasure. And the dance was fun! Young and old, smiling and swaying to the music. Our fears unfounded, the ballroom lessons unnecessary. No big deal.

And yet.

My anxiety-laden anecdote gives rise to an important but peaceful reality. Important, because there is a parallel event to your life and mine. Peaceful, because you don’t have to worry about it.

The Dance. The Dance at The Really Big Wedding Reception in heaven.

I should explain. Let’s hear it from the Prophet Isaiah:

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud

that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations;

he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.

In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” *

Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? This delightful biblical image about heaven – the wedding supper of the Lamb, Jesus Christ – is the feast to which you have been invited. In fact, everyone has been invited, but not everyone has accepted the offer. **

The fact that you’re reading this means there’s a good chance that at some point in your life you expressed an interest in having a seat at the heavenly banquet table.***

And yes, there will be dancing at the feast.

No, the Bible never actually says that. But Isaiah’s call – let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation – implies music and dance, just like in the celebration party thrown by the father in Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son. Moses’s sister Miriam and King David will lead the charge onto the dance floor!****

If you can’t imagine yourself doing the heavenly two-step, it’s possible you’ve been taught an overly formal and boring itinerary of our future life with God.

1. Get your ticket by RSVP’ing God’s invitation with a prayer of repentance.

2. Die.

3. Get admitted to heaven.

4. Receive a change of clothes and the key to the home Jesus prepared for you.

5. Find your reserved place to sit in a pew, just like church.

6. Wait for the clipboard to sign up for the celestial etiquette/orientation class.


Awe and wonder, beholding His beauty and shouting His Name, bowing down and jumping up, weeping with joy and singing his praises. And yes, dancing with all your energy. That’s what heaven holds. That’s what we will engage in.

Are you ready for that? Better yet -- does that describe your life with Jesus now?

This is not a theoretical question. This is the question for the ages for you and me. A couple of related principles will guide the rest of our reflections:

The way we live now is a rehearsal for eternal life.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

You’ve said The Lord’s Prayer many times, and it’s true. When we say yes to Jesus’ invitation, we join God’s family. We’re citizens of God’s Kingdom, living out the will and the ways of our Father during our days on earth. On earth as it is in heaven.

Distilled down to one sentence, heaven will be living in the full, unfiltered presence of the Almighty God. Our life on earth is practicing for that day. We are invited to live daily in the presence of God, who has given us his Spirit. His priorities become our priorities. His guiding principles are ours.

To loosely summarize CS Lewis’ imaginative novel The Great Divorce, if you aren’t interested in living with God on earth, you’ll find living with him in heaven to be frustrating and repulsive.

What does that mean for us? How do you practically and personally live with God on our earthly sojourn?

Start dancing!

Let’s not make this too complicated. Dancing is a wonderful symbol for relationships. All relationships – marriage, families, work, and yes… with God.

The band has already started to play. And Jesus has already invited you to step on the dance floor with his family of faith. Think of it as a massive line-dancing troupe. We’re learning how to dance in unison with our Lord and with others, practicing now for The Big Dance in heaven.

But there’s another foundational element. It all starts when it’s just you and Jesus, and he extends his hand – may I have this dance?

This tender invitation is the beginning of the life of faith, of timidly and thankfully stepping out onto the floor, a dance with Jesus that continues for the rest of our days.

And as I mentioned earlier, it’s a peaceful moment, because he is and always will be our faithful and trustworthy dance partner. His love endures forever.

Stay tuned. This fall, at another opening of the Blue Spigot, we’ll explore in depth the intimate, daily dance with Jesus in this life.

Benediction of Blessing:

  • May God impress upon your mind the certainty of his beloved feast in heaven, and implant within you an unquenching desire to be ready for that day.

  • May you have a new desire to learn to dance with Jesus and the members of his family, forgiving others as you have been forgiven when your feelings get hurt and you stumble through the steps.

  • May you continue to grow in your desire to live daily in the presence of God.


* Isaiah 25:6-9

** See Revelation 19:1-9, as well as Matthew 22:1-14/Luke 14:15-24 and Matthew 25:1-10.

*** I sincerely hope that you have said yes to Jesus’ invitation to live with him and love like him, following in his footsteps. If you need help understanding what that means, my follow-up post will help. But if you’d like, please send me your question or email me at I’ll help you get started.

**** Miriam: Exodus 15:1-21; David: 2 Samuel 6:12-23; Psalm 30:11-12; Psalms 149 and 150.


Social Dance class: ToddCombs, via Wikimedia Commons

Two hands: Occhietti/Tumblr

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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. TM


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