|Photo by Tony Massella 2014|
Saturday, November 7, 2015
I had a dream that my husband and I were dancing “Fire of the Spirit,” one of our dance ministry duets, in a large and elaborate stage production held in a large open space, like an Olympic gymnasium. Rather than the usual circumstance of us entering and dancing alone on stage, we were to enter in the midst of a large crowd of dancers. To avoid being seen, we had to crawl on our hands and knees as the other dancers huddled around us. My husband would then lift me overhead as the dancers separated, so that I would seem to be flying upward out of nowhere.
Coordinating our movement with that of the dance group proved to be very difficult, and we had to rehearse it over and over before we were even allowed to start dancing our own choreography. The director kept making suggestions and corrections, sometimes aimed at my husband and me, and sometimes at the others, but I grew increasingly frustrated with the whole process.
Meanwhile, I became aware that there were other platforms in the arena, each with groups of people and soloists who emerged from time to time, with seemingly random bursts of applause and cheers. However, I could see no audience and I wondered where the applause and cheers were coming from.
Finally, the director approved of our entrance, and we could proceed with the first lift and the remainder of the dance. It was a joy to finally be airborne, yet I was somewhat distracted by not having the undivided attention of the unseen audience. They continued to cheer and applaud at unexpected times, mostly not synchronized to our special moves, but apparently in response to what was going on elsewhere in the arena.
That was disappointing to me at first, and even the other dancers in my group had slipped away, presumably because they were needed to assist with other performances. Yet as the dance continued, I focused more on worshipping God through the dance, and less on the audience and other dancers, as I became less needful of their approval and assistance. Even though I had less feedback from them, I felt that we all became more cohesive as a unit, engaged in a common purpose and goal.
As I awoke, I realized that the dream was about salvation, the events leading up to it as God worked in my heart, and the Christian walk thereafter. Our “Fire of the Spirit” dance begins with a narrative I wrote:
Fire of the Spirit melts the heart of ice
Streams of Living Water give the soul new life.
Our dance uses the imagery of fire, ice and water to convey the fire of the Holy Spirit working on the sinner’s heart, which is cold and hardened to God (Mark 3:5; 10:5; Romans 2:5; Hebrews 3:8,15; 4:7)., Finally salvation by Jesus Christ, Who is the Living Water (John 4:10; 7:38; Jeremiah 17:13; Revelation 7:17) occurs when the sinner realizes she is in need of a Savior and places her trust in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only way to Heaven (John 14:6).
The process of being saved does not occur in isolation, but through the Spirit using the concerted effort of many who work together in the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Each member is a unique part of the body, often unaware of how they relate to the others, and what part they play in the unfolding, intricate creative work of the Spirit that will ultimately free the sinner from the chains of sin and elevate her to heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3;26).
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, which happens only when a follower of Christ is sent to preach the Gospel to us (Romans 10:13-17). As laborers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9), many believers are involved in the salvation of a single soul. Some pray that God will work in the sinner’s heart through hearing God’s Word; some plant the seed by preaching a sermon, witnessing, or even a blog post; and some water the seed by showing the love of Christ in their lifestyle and by their testimony.
Some, like missionaries to a foreign field, go abroad to share the Gospel across the globe, while others support that endeavor by prayer and financial assistance from the home front.
God orchestrates this whole process (1 Corinthians 3:6-7) from His perfect vantage point of complete knowledge, absolute power, and infinite love, working all things together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). No single person can take credit for His marvelous work, and yet each will share in the reward of the soulwinner’s crown when we see Jesus at His judgment seat (2 Corinthians 5:10; (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
The crowd of dancers protecting me, allowing the transformative work to take place unseen by the outside world, and facilitating my entrance to heavenly heights symbolized the body of believers assisting the lost soul to find the Lord, while the Divine Director coordinated their efforts to achieve the desired victory (1 Corinthians 15:57).
As in my own case, this can be a very long, painful process, with misdirected seeking of God in all the wrong places; stubborn refusal to let my heart be softened to His will; and increasingly severe hardships designed to bring me to my hands and knees. Only once I realized that I had come to the end of myself could I turn to Him to save me.
Heaven rejoices every time a soul is saved (Luke 15:7), and we are surrounded by an unseen cloud of witnesses who cheer us on from above (Hebrews 12:1). The other platforms in the dream, and applause at unexpected times, represent other souls coming to Christ, each through the many believers playing some role in showing them the Way, and the jubilation of the saints and angels at their salvation.
At the moment we are saved we are naturally filled with joy at His mercy, love and grace (Psalm 35:9; Isaiah 12:3; 61:10; Habakkuk 3:18). As we follow the Lord in believer’s baptism, we are blessed by the rejoicing of those who led us to the Lord, and of those in our new church family. But as we grow from being babes in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:3), we should move from focusing on ourselves, which is characteristic of the old man or sin nature (Romans 6:6), and move toward worshipping Him (John 4:24) and loving others (John 13:34-35; 15:12).
In the dream, I experienced great joy at entering the lift, representing being seated in heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 1:3; 2:6). But the next emotion to follow was disappointment when I realized that the crowd of dancers who had helped make this possible were no longer as prominent in my dance, and that the praise from the unseen audience was not always meant for me. If we are not careful, we can grow resentful or bitter when our Christian service is not always praised with a pat on the back or other recognition.
Yet as the dance continued, my focus shifted to the One Who carried me up as if on eagle’s wings (Exodus 19:4; Isaiah 40:31), to worshipping Him in unity (Acts 1:14; 2:46; 4:24) with the other dancers, acting together in concert to bring others to Him, for His glory. May we be in one accord, lifting our hearts, hands and voices to praise Him and bring others to Him until He comes again!
© 2015 Laurie Collett