A long time ago, in what now seems like another life, I used to worship in the chapel of a large university. The amazing thing for me about this chapel was always how high and how wide the ceiling was near the front of the building. Walking toward the pulpit (the platform, the stage… I hesitate to call it an altar), the floor sloped gently downward, while the ceiling, already 60 feet above the back, angled upward, so that at the front of the room it towered more than 100 feet above. The building itself was shaped like a diamond, with the platform in one corner, just past the midpoint. The result was that, when you stood near the “front” and looked up in worship, you were filled with a sense of the vast spaciousness of the place. This was, no doubt, an unmoderated blessing when the chapel was completely packed.
But many times when I would pray during the services there, I would see in my mind’s eye a figure dancing. It was a man – no doubt I thought he was me – wearing a plain white shirt, short sleeved, and wide-legged navy pants, and a broad red sash around his waist. Whether he wore shoes, I don’t remember.
Sometimes he had flags in his hands, like those semaphore flags they use in colorguard; sometimes his hands were empty. But he would raise his arms, and spin around, and stop his feet to the sound of invisible drums in heaven. He would dance – as some say David danced before the Lord – with complete abandon.
As the music progressed, whether heard or unheard, every phrase or two, something like an invisible floor would rise beneath him. The figure in my mind would keep on dancing, lost in his worship of the God of heaven, unaware that he was rising, that he was becoming something of a spectacle to those around him. Until, some 40 feet in the air, he finally opened his eyes and ralized where he was. Then the rhythm doubled, and he continued dancing, only vaguely aware that he had acquired something of an audience. Mostly, he rejoiced because of all the room he now had in which to worship.
It’s been a while since I was in that chapel, and really quite some time since I saw my little private vision. But lately – Lately when I’m in a particularly worshpiful mood, or when I read a really inspiring piece of theology, or something touches me with a vision of God’s intention for the church, or for my family – or when any sense of God’s working touches me…
I see a little figure dancing. (Perhaps I think it’s me.) He claps his hands and spins around and stomps his feet to the sound of the invisible drums of heaven. And my heart is taken that much higher, as I long to make His praise more glorious.
Then the rhythm doubles…