It’s difficult to dance with no music.
It’s even more difficult to dance the right dance with the wrong music.
Romans 14 ends with this statement, “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
Faith is trust. It’s trust that surrenders to the logic of another.
Romans 15 begins with this statement, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves… [but] our neighbor for his good.”
Parents who think they must please their children to gain the approval of their children aren’t pleasing their children but pleasing themselves and creating unpleasant adults incapable of experiencing pleasure.
Every little child is born with a remarkable ability to trust. But at a certain age they begin to judge themselves and so attempt to save themselves and so get stuck in themselves. And even though Love is all around them, they can’t perceive Love or respond to Love; they think they are the creators of Love; they are asleep in a dream that becomes a nightmare. In this state, it’s impossible to dance. And Life is a dance. Life is a communion of Sacrificial Love.
But little children will dance at the drop of a hat.
“Become like little children,” but “give up childish ways.”
The most childish children are children that think they are grown up.
So, are you grown up? How quickly will you drop everything and dance?
Romans 15:3, “Christ did not please himself….”
Every part of my body bears the failings of its neighbor as its own, and the pleasure of one is the pleasure of all, and the pleasure of all is the pleasure of one.
Romans 15: 5, “May… God… grant y’all to live in such harmony with one another in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome (reach out and take by the hand) one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
What keeps us from living in harmony with one another? Why don’t we join the dance?
Romans 15:8, “Christ became a minister of circumcision.” “In Christ you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands,” wrote Paul in Colossians 2, “by putting off the body of flesh. ” That “body of flesh,” would be your “grown up” ego, that thing that thinks it must create itself, save itself and justify itself: me-sus rather than Jesus.
Romans 15:8-9, “Christ became a minister of circumcision to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs (God promised them that he would circumcise our heart), and in order that the Gentiles (the nations, the peoples) might glorify God for his mercy.”
Paul then quotes four songs, all about the Gentiles and hope.
He’s already quoted Psalm 69, as if David sang this song, while Jesus sings David; Jesus sings a new David into the failure of the old David; Jesus sings harmony into all of David’s disharmony… “that we (us Gentiles) might have hope.”
Then Paul quotes these four songs: 2nd Samuel 22, The Song of David; then he quotes Deuteronomy 32, The Song of Moses; then Psalm 117, one of The Songs of Israel; and then Isaiah 9-11, The Song of the Prophet “Unto us a child is born… in that day the root of Jesse will rule the nations. In him will the Gentiles hope.” Then Paul concludes by writing “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound (overflow) in hope.
Fifteen years ago, The Sanctuary met for the first time, for we had been excommunicated from “church” for hoping that the Savior would save. HOW does that happen?
HOW do people read Romans and conclude that Paul is saying, “NOT every knee will bow, and every tongue give praise; NOT all consigned to disobedience will receive mercy; NOT all made sinners in Adam will be made righteous in Christ; NOT all who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God will be justified by Grace through Faith, but be endlessly tortured by God, who is Love?”
HOW do we say we believe in Christ and live in such disharmony with each other, and with such a lack of mercy toward Gentiles (the Nations, the Un-believers)?
HOW did Paul come to have so much knowledge of the Word of God, so much knowledge of the Law, so much knowledge of Good and evil—all that Scripture for all those years—and conclude that it all meant: Find the followers of Jesus—the Word of God in flesh—and kill them?
“We piped and you would not dance,” said Jesus.
On the road to Damascus, the Singer and the Song, circumcised Paul’s heart and he began to dance. All the old notes (all those Scriptures) were still true, but now they comprised an entirely new song; they were all harmonized by the Logic, the Logos, the Rhythm of Love.
God sang creation into existence. For five days everything danced to the sound of his voice, but on the sixth day, something refused to dance—a golem named “Adam,” that is us.
We think our control is freedom, but it’s bondage.
When you’re trying to dance, you are imposing your will on every member of your body.
But when you actually do dance, the rhythm (logos) bypasses your conscious control and animates your entire body; you lose yourself in the music and find yourself dancing as you think to yourself, “This is fun!”
It’s work that is rest; It’s order that is freedom, as each member of your body experiences joy.
Paul just told us that “we, though many, are one body in Christ.”
Imagine if all of us were dancing to just one song.
So back to our question: How do we read Romans fifteen and conclude that it’s possible to hope too much for too many? How is it that we can know so much about Jesus and live so little like Jesus?
Maybe we’re listening to the wrong song… or just noise.
Maybe the snake is still whispering “Take knowledge from that tree and make yourself in the image of God.” Maybe we’re singing to the glory of our choice instead of God’s Choice, me-sus instead of Jesus.
The One hanging on the tree in the middle of the garden is the Rhythm of every song.
And the snake whispers, “Seize control,” while the Spirit whispers, “Surrender control,” and the one on the tree says, “Shut up and dance with me.” That’s worship; that’s knowing by being known.
When you worship, you are being sung into reality; You are the dance that God is dancing.
At the tree, you took his life, and he gave his life; in you, God planted a Seed.
By Faith you begin to hope in the dance of Love which is Life.
In Hope you come back to the tree and surrender “your life” to our lord who is Love.
In Love you invite others to dance, and love binds all things together in perfect harmony.
You cannot hope too much.
So, imagine the entire world dancing to the Song of Love and Love will be dancing you . . . and your neighbor, his body, into the Seventh Day, The Kingdom of Heaven.