On Pentecost Sunday this Spring I gave a sermon, Shut up and Dance, which used the recent pop-rock hit of the same name as a way to understand the Holy Spirit. The sermon message suggests the Holy Spirit is our divine dance partner, moving with us in lock step through the joys and sorrows of life. Unfortunately who gets to lead in this divine dance often ends up as one big tug-o-war. Our culture, more often than not, tells us we should take the lead. You know the mantras. Be independent. Play to win. Carpe diem. There can be value in that. It’s part of who we are as Americans. For many our rugged individualism defines us.
But that’s not how the Holy Spirit works best. As the song lyrics go, she asks us to “Shut up and Dance”. To quiet ourselves enough to look and listen to the Spirit, to join in a dance that transcends our wants and desires. To partake in a dance that calls us to be part of so much more. And not just to dance, but to let the Spirit take the lead.
Ever since I gave this message the song – currently playing on FM, secular radio stations – pops up in the most amazing places. One place was on the way to that first Sunday service three weeks ago to join the people of Holy Spirit Lutheran for my internship year. Another was in the middle of a bit of a spat with my wife. Earlier this week it was while driving to do home visits with members of the congregation not able to make it to our campus.
Each time the message was clear. The song reminds me to let go of anxieties, fears, and my need for control. To be still, to shut up, and to listen to the Spirit. And then to dance, letting the Spirit guide my ways. May you find the Spirit at work in your life, dancing you away from fear and toward a life of joy, impact and higher purpose. Amen.