Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Time to Dance

Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing.
EACH WEEK AT THE CENTRAL BAPTIST CHURCH in Voronezh, you will find an unusual gathering. In this group are children with Down syndrome - though some are well into adulthood, and parents who are working hard to provide in a country where there is little provision for those considered on the margins of society. They come together to encourage and support one another while the children engage in a variety of activities and crafts. Sorrow is shared, joy is found. There is music, poetry and dancing. On a blustery day in March, our team from America arrived with gifts and games to share; but we received far more than we offered.

ONE BY ONE, the children came forward with a song, with poetry, with art, with dance – showing a little fear – but no shame. They were not relying on the greatness of their efforts – but on the encouragement of their loving parents.

ANTON AND HIS FATHER had a carefully rehearsed number. Anton approached the center of the room; his father placed a cape on his drooping shoulders and took his place proudly on the sidelines – giving directions, mimicking the forgotten motions, and grinning from ear to ear. The music began and Anton leaned down to take the hand of his chosen partner, placing it carefully in his own. The two returned to the center of the makeshift dance floor, and with timing orchestrated by the diligence of a faithful father, they danced with small circular turns, even an overhead twirl. There on the sidelines stood Anton’s loving father, ready to remind his son of the next move.

WHAT A PICTURE OF HEAVEN for those of us fortunate to observe. Our faithful heavenly Father stands on the sidelines of our lives, encouraging those of us willing to step out on the dance floor of our present circumstance. We are deceived into thinking we have so little to offer. But what can Picasso paint the creator of the platypus, or Mozart offer musically for the conductor of the thunderstorm’s symphony? Yet, He is watching in delight our simple obedience to the next well-orchestrated step. He stands in the wings giving us our cues through the Spirit. Shadowing the motions and moves that will bring glory to His Kingdom. He applauds us, as proud as any parent beaming with joy at the performance of his child – even one with a Down Syndrome son on a dance floor in the basement of a Baptist Church in Russia!