So Come And Welcome To Jesus Christ

Day 5 of 8 • This day’s reading


Counting and Dancing

Whenever a people regularly gather, they will fall into certain customs—what they do or don’t do, what they say or do not say, what they enact or do not enact things they will get accustomed to. Once they are accustomed, their minds may start to drift elsewhere while they enact the ritual, or their minds may seize on the central intention and meaning behind the custom. Those are the choices. To develop C.S. Lewis’s illustration, when a man is learning to dance, he is not really dancing but rather counting. One, two, three, one, two, three. Once he has learned the dance, he can do it without thinking about the steps. He can now dance without counting, and focus his attention on his partner. But—and here is the perennial danger—he can also dance with her while thinking of another woman.

If our rituals are biblically grounded, we have a duty to learn the pattern and thereafter use the occasion properly—to set our minds on things above, not on things below. During a worship service, all that we say, think, or do must be focused on approaching God the Father through the name of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Some try to avoid heart-drift by constantly changing the dance. They want to keep us always counting so we will not think about the wrong woman during the dance. Or they ban all customs, all rituals. If there is no dancing at all, nobody will ever think of anything wrong. But this underestimates the nature of our circumstances. We will always be tempted to drift into the wrong patterns of thought. We can always sin with what God requires of us, but if we abandon those things for the sake of “purity,” we will just sin quicker. You can refuse to go to any dances, and still think of the wrong woman.

What we must therefore do is enact the requirements of Scripture, knowing that we will regularly be tempted to approach God with our lips though our hearts are far from Him. Knowing that, we do not lean on our own understanding, but rather on the Spirit.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.