Advent Calendar Day 13: Lord of the Dance

Weren’t expecting that, were you?  Not actually having anything to do with Ireland, the Celts, or Michael @#$%ing Flatley, “Lord of the Dance” borrows from the tune of the old Shaker dance tune “Simple Gifts” (which is not a hymn, for the record, although the Shakers didn’t draw a dividing line between the sacred and secular as near as I can tell), and was written by Sydney Carter. Spoiler alert, the titular Lord of the Dance is Jesus, not that Flatley guy, who as far as I know is a cool dude in person, so in the charitable spirit of the season we’ll just skip the insults and jokes at his expense that littered the first draft of this post.

But turning our attention back from my unfortunately being a sarcastic dick, here we have the a depiction of the Christ rooted in dance.  Not entirely defensible within the narrow confines of a literal reading of the Gospel, mayhaps, but how beautiful and appropriate an image it is!  It was God who made the stars into the first choir, and set the planets to dancing at the First Dawn, when all this wondrous universe exploded forth at His word.  FIAT LUX!  And so came the great bang, the thunderclap that yet resounds through every atom about and within us now!  I tend to imagine the Creation in imagery borrowed from Jack Kirby and Carl Sagan in equal measure, and the dance seems an ideal metaphor for the energy and rhythmic motion of the world around us.

Nietzsche, that mentally unwell curmudgeon with the stubbornly unspellable name, said he’d be a dancer if he couldn’t be a philosopher.  King David danced before the Ark of the Covenant.  Belit danced before Conan on the deck of her fearsome pirate ship in the age undreamed of, after the oceans drank Atlantis.  Even the Jets and Sharks at their most vicious found the purest expression of their rage in dance rather than in actual violence.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  All of them, and the pin’s dancing too.  The universe is dancing right now, and we’re dancing with it, and all that’s to the delight of the Lord of the Dance, who is the Lord of the Sabbath.  As his forefather David danced before the Ark, so Christ danced for the new Covenant.  Rejoice!


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