This past weekend I received the gift of watching a young friend dance at the Kennedy Center. She performed with the American Ballet Theater in “Sleeping Beauty”. It was a truly delightful evening. Beautiful costumes; dancers of all ages, colors and sizes; incredible music; amazing athleticism displayed in the choreography.
But what struck me as I watched? One man was the key to the entire evening.
Without him, the whole thing would have been a disaster.
No matter how hard the principal dancers had worked, if he had been off, they would have floundered.
No matter how gorgeous the costumes were, if he had fallen down on the job, the evening would have flopped.
And no matter how masterful the musicians in the orchestra were, they were fully dependent on him.
Had they all practiced?
It was evident that they had!
Hours and hours had gone into pirouettes, arabesques, and grand jetés.
Days, weeks and months had gone into learning how dance en pointe, how to do the lifts and the leaps required.
You could see the muscles in the dancers.
You could feel the grace and fluidity that comes from endless practice.
You could hear the way the orchestra played as one cohesive unit.
They had most definitely practiced!
But it still would have completely crashed without that one man.
Because he led the orchestra at all, the musicians could keep in time with one another.
Because he led the orchestra with precision, the dancers could perform with confidence, knowing that the notes played that evening were the same ones they had danced to in the studio over and over again.
They could trust the conductor.
And he did his job flawlessly.
Which led to the end result of a fabulous evening for all – the musicians, the dancers and the audience.
I am a dancer on this stage of life.
I have spent years in practice, learning little by little how to dance better and better.
Time spent in the Word of God and in prayer.
Time spent with other dancers who are farther ahead of me on this journey.
Dancing to the music created by this “great cloud of witnesses” who surround me – those who have gone before and those who walk with me now.
I am a dancer.
But I am nothing without my Conductor.
He is the glue that holds my life together, bringing just the right music at the right time, the right dance partners at the right place.
He sets the pace. Six days of work and one of rest.
He brings in the instruments to make beautiful music; sometimes in a minor key; often in lilting, joyful tones; always the right music at the right time.
But without Him keeping the rhythm of my life, it would all fall apart.
Paul said it this way: “In Him, we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17)
And here is the thing. He is a good, good conductor – the very best there is.
When I listen.
When I obey.
When I dance for Him alone, an audience of One.
Then we both look good. Because He IS good – and I am following His magnificent lead.
I get in trouble when I forget that I am NOT the conductor.
Or, worse yet, when it is not forgetfulness but rebellion that leads me away.
Then the dance falls apart.
And this dancer gets injured.
And the rest of the dance company suffers as well.
But this good, good conductor simply reaches down a hand and pulls me to my feet. He tends to my wounds and holds me close.
And then He picks up the baton so that we may begin again…