Today’s reading sums up all that we have been thinking about this week. It is a reminder, if we needed it, that it’s not in our own strength that we love but in response to and through the love that God showers on us. God loved us before we were born; God loves us when we don’t feel very loveable; God loves us when we get it right and when we get it wrong. It’s when we lose sight of that love or our need for it, that we often revert to old patterns — the law, self-justification, self-righteousness, criticism and negativity. Psychologist Bill Plotkins sums it up aptly when he says that we may well learn to do "the survival dance" but never actually get to “the sacred dance”.
My experience is that the days when I am doing the “survival dance” are the days when lists overwhelm, when targets become more important than people, when I’m doing it all under my own steam. For others, it may be the day when we just can’t get going, or they feel that they have little to offer, so why bother. It’s good to take stock and think: what is my survival dance? And then to consider what your sacred dance would look like.
For me, the sacred dance is never danced alone; God is the lead partner and guides me through the other dancers, both those who know the rhythms and those are still learning them. When we are happy to be led by Love, we can share the joy, the peace and the comfort with others.
Maya Angelou, American poet and civil rights activist writes: “People may forget what you said, they may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
I would like to conclude with these words, sung by Leonard Cohen, to express our prayerful longing.
“Dance me to the beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love.”(From ‘Dance Me to the End of Love’ Leonard Cohen)
7-10 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
11-12 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!