Joy to the world is a pretty distant melody in the rainy cold eve of February.
But last night, I sat in the cavernous Belcourt Theater with a friend for 159 minutes of an unnarrated visual delight on the large screen. "La Danse" is a documentary on the Paris Opera Ballet, and we are given a voyeur's look at the innards of this company. With minimal dialogue, and detail from the minutia of seamstresses silently sewing one jewel at a time on waves of tuille tutus, to delicate dancers laying in half on the floor like a pale thin compact of face powder as they massaged their own toe dancing feet, to the strength of bodies defying gravity as they balanced on the edge of belief, one leg extended back, one arm reaching opposite, the poetic unspoken dialogue began to leak out off the screen... passion begets unspeakable joy.
I squirmed in my chair trying to be warm and comfortable along with the other 15 people in the auditorium, but I was totally taken by the images. Tireless participants, including long silent shots of janitors sweeping the silent building after rehearsal, and duets of aging mentor choreographers coaching from their chairs, added layer after layer of authenticity and devotion to their artistic collaboration. I even found myself stretching my leg muscles and flexing my back along with the dancers as they bent, folded, threw, and spun themselves with precisioned abandon.
I heard recently that for lovers of Christ, any story we love and that actually moves us, has the scent of Jesus in it. For Christians, there really is a rescuing prince, transformation from beast to beauty, a superhero who saves the day, and a kiss that awakens us from a still sleep. And as I watched the screen last night, I couldn't help but see the story of joy for those of us who walk an intentional disciple's walk. It's hard work. It's poetry. It's beautiful. Our feet will ache. There is a need for a "company", and partners to catch us when we come down from our flight, and others who will clean and repair what is broken and exhausted. And there is a day when the curtain will be opened, and the fullness of all the rehearsal will be displayed with no encumbered views. And the choreographer will say, "It is good".
Passion does beget unspeakable joy. And as a beloved of Christ, His passion for me, and in turn my passion for Him, begets the most sustaining and astonishing joy. I want more spiritual muscle, so I can do more spiritual dancing. So I pray for me, and you:
"Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit." Psa. 51:12
Joy, in the journey, the flying, the aching, and the dancing.