Psalm 149:1-3 Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
Have you read over the ten references to dancing in the ESV and simply not thought twice about them? If you are familiar with the church culture I have known my whole life, dancing is foreign to me and in some circles almost too heathen to even consider as legitimate.
Then you experience Zambian church culture, and these verses leap off the page. Praise our Maker with dancing. Wow! Yes, I have brothers and sisters who make that a reality and visible truth for the world to see. King David danced (2 Samuel 6:16) and the party for the prodigal son included dancing (Luke 15:25). In fact, dancing in the Bible is very legitimate.
I’m convinced after my second Zambian church service that the new heavens and new earth will more likely look more similar to the joy exhibited in the dancing and singing in Zambia then it does in the American church culture I have known my whole life. The point I look forward to in every song sung by the Zambians is when all their voices unite in a single praise that is loud, on key, and absolutely beautiful. You have likely seen and heard what I mean from the videos I have posted.
So do you dance? Has God made such music in your heart through Jesus Christ by the power of His Spirit that you can praise His name with dancing? I know I haven’t but maybe we should consider verses like the one above a little more seriously and figure out how to encompass a joyous culture of dancing for Christ.
Today we enjoyed church with the Zambians orphans of the Tree of Life Children’s Village, we bought items at an on-site Zambian market, we met our Zambian partner for the week, we enjoyed visiting with the Izzy’s House girls, and we made our first batch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, all the while anticipating the first day of Camp LIFE starting tomorrow.
Speaking of our Zambian partners, please pray especially for these relationships this week. For example, my Zambian partner is a pastor of a church of 150 people. The manner and content of my communication with Nathan (my Zambian partner, yes, we have the same name) will have far reaching effects to his heart as well as the hearts of his congregation. My goal is to share my love for Jesus as I talk about his perfect life, substitutionary death, glorious resurrection, and yet future return for his own. That is the gospel.
All of us in our group are meeting with partners who will impact many other people beyond this week. Our prayer is that the seeds of the gospel that we spread for salvation and sanctification would sprout and grow for the rest of their lives as the Spirit sees fit to produce those results.
Please also pray for tomorrow’s visit to one of the slums in Lusaka in the morning prior to camp starting. We anticipate, like every year, that tomorrow will be a challenging day emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We see and hear tough things tomorrow.
In the mean time, consider for yourself if Jesus is a person you love and have a relationship with, or someone you just know about that provides eternal life. Those are very similar things yet very different. Jesus is alive. You can know him through God’s word, and you can have a very real, tangible relationship with the Creator of the world. Colossians tells us this person is Jesus Christ. Trust, know, and love Him today.