This past month I have been recuperating from surgery with plenty of unexpected time on my hands. To my joy, I discovered YouTube to be a treasure trove of unexpected glory flashes of God at work all over this beloved globe. Saturday, I gasped at the power of God displayed at a Feast of Tabernacle gathering in Ein Gedi, Israel. Yesterday, the kids and I rejoiced watching over 1300 young people joyfully dancing their hearts out on a Resurrection Sunday in Budapest, Hungary.
Fascinated by this public display of affection and love for Jesus in a country where just two decades earlier, Christians had been oppressed by the socialist rule of the Soviet Union, I clicked through to uptofaith.com, to learn more about the artists responsible for this dance party. To my delight, the website showcased groups who had grabbed hold of the challenge and danced for Jesus in various fields, squares and city streets with joy and laughter and abandon across many nations.
As I watched young and old dancing in Romania, in Hong Kong, in China, in Ukraine, and in Berne, Switzerland, my heart leaped. I remember as a young single mom pushing my stroller down Simcoe Street in Oshawa, belting out “Shine, Jesus Shine” in my first March for Jesus and the incredible joy I felt publicly declaring, “Yes, this Jesus is worth marching for.” Not quite understanding the event, I marched along with Liz, my daughter’s loving daycare provider, with folks from churches across the city, sensing something greater than my individual contribution was at play, feeling shyly thrilled to be part of a collective declaration of how great Jesus is.
That march happened over twenty years ago. Canada has changed.
These days in Canada, public displays of Christian adoration are rarely appreciated. Christmas songs have been banned from most school concerts as culturally insensitive. Christian holidays have morphed into retail celebrations as Santa’s elves and the Easter Bunny take precedence, sidelining the birth, death and resurrection of Christ as foolish, naive, irrelevant to those enjoying their coveted day off. Silenced, many churches herald the holidays with rousing musicals, annual feasts, hampers for the poor, in hope to offer relevance to Christian holidays in a country which broadly dismisses the Man who began all celebration on earth.
Sadly, I find I have changed. Like a sheepish chameleon, I find myself shrinking to acceptable colours, appearing bright and bold with other Christians, while remaining builder’s beige in public, like a heartsick Peter, dodging exposure of my deep love for Jesus in order to maintain neutrality.
How many of us are muted by fear, nursing shame and praying for holy boldness?
Like Peter, we need restoration, forgiveness, and commission from Jesus to live through Him, in Him and with Him.
Watching these joyful Christians dance compels me to boldly paint Christ across my life’s canvas:
Jesus is alive! The Bible is true! Love has come down and His name is Jesus!
In loud brassy pink neon, I want to shout out like stark graffiti on boxcars which catch the eye even as we zoom past with heavy-pedalled rush:
I am sorry! I should have spoken up earlier! God is not mad! He loves you, yes, you!
I dream about dancing out loud for Jesus like the grateful Hungarians, the joyful Swiss, the brave Chinese. Not to prove anything or belittle any other creed. Just to dance for joy that Jesus is alive and He incredibly, He loves me. Mystifying it may be, but Christ lives in me. He lives in all who believe.
But first, I need grace to stop the two-step.
What holds you back from dancing for Jesus in your public square?
Colossians 1:27 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English, 2010)
Those to whom God has chosen to make known what is the wealth of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is The Messiah, who is in you, the hope of our glory,