Monthly Archives: September 2012

Following Jesus: Backwards and in High Heels

Don and I have been taking dance lessons. We are learning the foxtrot, the swing, and the waltz. Our teacher, Terry Johnson, is very patient and skilled at teaching two people who seldom find time to practice and who sometimes confuse the foxtrot with the waltz. When we started with Terry at his dance studio on Maple Street, we had planned on taking only a few lessons. That was nearly a year ago. We continue to dance not because we are especially good, but because dance is good for us. We arrive at the studio, put on our dance shoes, and as the music starts, we leave behind our daily work and worries as we swing, spin, and promenade across the floor.

I have always been a leader. In 1stgrade I took over organizing games on the playground and I have been leading ever since. Leading has never been my problem. Following is a different story. And as you know, in dance, someone leads and someone follows. Consequently, I had to learn to follow. Or as it has been said of Ginger Rogers, to do everything backwards and in high heels.

At first, I really didn’t get how to follow. It felt wrong. Somehow I should have been leading. But slowly over the weeks of dance lessons, I have not only learned to follow, I have grown to enjoy it. As the dance partner who follows, you have to stay completely aware of your partner’s unspoken “signals”. You cannot just dance along ignoring your partner or hoping they will keep up. You are continuously cognizant of his every move and must be ready to move with him. I was surprised at the freedom that following gave me. The freedom comes because it is your partner who is responsible for choosing the dance, remembering the steps, and keeping the two of you in the middle of the floor (and not crashing you against a wall as we have sometimes done). While he is figuring out the next dance and its steps, you are free to move, to simply follow. This relinquishment of control results in a welcome freedom.

Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” Actually, the Gospel writers have Jesus saying the words “follow me” 23 times. We often think of following Jesus as work or effort—as if following can only be a conscious choice and one that requires changing who we are and what we choose to do. But why? Following on the dance floor doesn’t change me—it releases me. Following lends itself to self expression and a certain shared intimacy with one’s partner. Would following Jesus have the same freedom as it does in the waltz or the foxtrot if we thought of our faith journey as a dance and not a task? Could following Jesus give us a life of grace-full steps, smooth turns and beautiful spins?

What would happen if you saw your faith as a dance? It could mean a life lived in God’s presence—as close as your dance partner. You would not be awaiting instructions or marching orders, but rather sensing an unspoken signal and then twirling, stepping, spinning, gliding in the arms of the One you love. Dance a little this week. Experience the joy of following.

See You in the Pews!

Pastor Jane

Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured ...

Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured in dance: an early moving picture demonstrates the waltz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Blogging With Jane


Biden Comes to Burlington


The following is the Invocation that I gave today when Vice President Biden visited Burlington. It was an awesome speech by Biden.

Don’t forget to vote.

Loving and Gracious God,

We come before you today in a spirit of thanks. We thank you for the vision of hope that our President and his administration have provided us. We thank you for the prosperity we are beginning to see again in Iowa and in this country. We thank you that we are led by individuals who believe that poverty can be a thing of the past, who place their confidence in a strong middle class, who believe that the wealth of this country is not for the few, but is a shared abundance for the many.

Send your spirit upon this gathering today, upon this election and upon this country. Grant to President Obama continued courage and sustained strength as he seeks to heal a recovering economy and as he speaks truth to those who want to remain a world at war.

Grant peace to our global community and make known your powerful love in those places recently torn by violence. Hear our prayers for the families of the Libyans and Americans killed in the attack on the U.S. embassy. We pray especially for the family of our ambassador, Christopher Stevens.

Remind us that you are the God of all creation—the God of muslims and jews; the God of Christians and Sikhs; the God of atheists and agnostics, the God of straight and gay. As your creation, we are not divided by our religious, social, and political differences but rather, we are held together by our common humanity and our desire for just and peaceful world.

Empower Vice President Biden as he campaigns in Iowa and across the country that his words will demonstrate the authenticity and integrity of the present administration.

Bless each of us, O God, on this day and always….In Your Many Holy Names we pray…AMEN.


Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Blogging With Jane


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