By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila
Have you ever pictured the Holy Spirit as your personal Dance Instructor? As the Song Maker of the Trinity, the Spirit does this and much more if we let Him. Nancy Catan relates how she experienced the miracle of dancing with the Spirit.
Many years ago (I think sometime 1996) a Valentine’s Day miracle happened to me. It not only changed my life but it changed my way of thinking about the Holy Spirit. Our BCBP chapter held its annual Valentine’s fellowship and dance that Saturday, February 17. My husband, Jun, and I looked forward to going. He loves to dance and is a good dancer. Me, I have two left feet and the rhythm I sing in my mind never quite reaches the extremities of my hands and feet. In short, I can’t dance. This is a great frustration to Jun because all these years he has been trying to teach me and still I can’t dance!
I am a very logical person and need to follow the step sequence exactly – any deviation and I am lost in a maze of stumbling steps and missed beats. Jun, on the other hand, inventor par excellence that he is, as long as the rhythm is good, his dance steps sort of “invent” themselves as the music flows. Not my style at all!
That evening was different. We danced and danced and danced from beginning to end. I forgot the step sequences, I forgot to count the beat, I just listened to the music and followed Jun’s leading. And I really enjoyed myself. To underline the miracle, we were awarded the prize of being the Dance King and Queen of the evening! To say that I was surprised is a gross understatement!
On our way home Jun told me that he had prayed to the Holy Spirit to help me dance and enjoy myself. What a wonderful answered prayer!!
The Song Maker of the Trinity
Shortly after that we began preparing for a BCLP talk on the Holy Spirit which we were to give in the Baguio Outreach. As I was doing some preparatory background reading for the talk, I realized that as Christians, many of us depend too much on the logic and the instruction book and too little of the Holy Spirit.
We are prone to follow the step sequences while ignoring the music. We master the doctrine, intellectually outline the chapters in the Bible, memorize our catechism, debate the rules, and stiffly step out on the dance floor of our life with no music in our hearts. We measure our steps, calibrate each turn, and flop into bed every night exhausted from another day of dancing by the book.
Noted Christian writer, Max Lucado, in his book A Gentle Thunder (Word, Inc., Texas, c1995), calls the Holy Spirit the Song Maker of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is the One who writes the music, puts the rhythm of God into our feet, the love of God into our hearts, and the joysong of the Risen Christ into our lives.
Dancing with the Spirit
Our lives take on a new energy, a renewed spirit as we dance with the holy Spirit. St. Paul emphasizes this life-giving ability of the Holy Spirit when he states in his letter to the Romans, “If Christ is in you, then the Spirit gives you life” (Romans 8:10, NCV).
It is not enough to hear the music, to know the steps, to feel the beat. We must also surrender ourselves into His arms and let Him lead us in the dance. Never mind if He improvises as we go along. Since He writes the music, He knows the direction and the rhythm that best interprets the dance. As His dance partner, we just trustfully follow His leading. And let Him surprise us with miracles and wonders as we dance with Him.
The Holy Spirit is … ??
Can you picture yourself dancing with the holy Spirit? No? Maybe because you aren’t sure what He looks like …
If you were asked to describe God the Father, you could do so, maybe as a stern, bearded kingly judge regally sitting on a heavenly throne. If you were asked to describe Jesus, this would be even easier. But how would you describe the Holy Spirit? As a dove, or a wind, or tongues of fire, or as the oil of anointing? But these are only impersonal manifestations of the Spirit; they are NOT the Spirit Himself!
Perhaps the most common mistake regarding the Holy Spirit is in perceiving Him as power or a thing and not as a person. The Spirit is a Person. The Spirit is not an “it”. The Spirit has knowledge (1 Cor 2:11). He has a will (1 Cor 12:11). He has a mind (Romans 8:27). He has affections (Romans 15:30). You can lie to Him (Acts 5:3-4) but be prepared to suffer the dire consequences if you do so. You can insult Him (Heb 10:29). You can grieve Him (Eph 4:30). These are all qualities of a person, not a thing!
The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force or power. He is God within us to help us. Jesus tells us, “The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (Jn 14:17, NIV).
What does the Spirit do?
His name alone, Holy Spirit, has a two-fold implication in our lives. First, when we take the Holy Spirit into our lives, He will do His best to make us holy, to make us worthy temples for Him (1 Cor 6:19). Secondly, He will make us spiritual, because we become like Him.
Lucado summarizes the work of the Holy Spirit into three essential areas, referring to John 16:7-13. The Spirit comforts and encourages the saved. Hasn’t God ever brought you peace when the world was surrounding you with pain? Then you have heard the music of the “Helper”.
He convicts the lost and reminds us of God’s laws when we sin. If we are alert and our “antenna” is spiritually attuned, when we stumble and fall down in sin along our Christian journey, our conscience pricks us into acknowledging our sin and turning back to God This is the Spirit working in us to make us holy.
Thirdly, the Spirit conveys the Truth. He prods us to study more. He opens our minds and reveals the mind of God to us (1 Cor 2:10-13). He gives us “spiritual” eyes with which to see God’s plan at work in our lives. Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well that “God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth” (Jn 4:24). The Spirit helps us find the balance between the dancers’ instruction manual and the rhythm of the music.
As BCBP members, it is our mission to bring others to the dance floor. Now that we know that God is playing the music and the Holy Spirit is our Dance Instructor, it should be a lot easier getting people to join the dance, don’t you think?