Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, August 9, 2021

The Dance

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 147, an invitation to praise God. It is one of the last five psalms in the Book of Psalms and, like the others in this group, begins and ends in Hebrew with the word “Hallelujah” (“Praise God”).

The psalm’s first line tells us that it is good for the soul to offer praise. A heart that sings praise is positive, joyful, and free. It has the right attitude toward life based on its sound relationship with its Creator.

Hallelujah!
How good to sing praise to our God;
how pleasant to give fitting praise.

Psalm 147: 1

Praying with this thought this morning, I think of my five-year old grandnephew, a child full of joy and life. Through a family move, his mother (my niece) recently acquired my very old 45 rpm rock & roll records plus their vintage player. And most of you know you can’t beat that music for lively joy!

Last night, his Mom flipped on Chuck Berry singing “Rock and Roll Music”. She sent me a delightful video of little Ollie skipping all over the living room exclaiming, “I can’t stop dancing!”


When we open our spirit
to hear God’s music
humming throughout Creation,
we feel the same way.

And, like our first reading from Deuteronomy, Psalm 147 offers us ample reasons to praise. It directs our attention to what matters in our lives.

God:

  • strengthens us
  • blesses us
  • grants us peace
  • sustains us
  • gives us a fruitful earth
  • teaches us
  • loves us faithfully

If we can focus our hearts on these gifts as we begin our day, we will rise in joy and praise. And no matter what heaviness might seep into our day, our spirits will be able to say, “I can’t stop dancing!”


Poetry: I Praise The Dance – George Goetsch

I praise the dance,
for it frees people from the heaviness of matter
and binds the isolated to community.
I praise the dance, which demands everything:
health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul.
Dance is a transformation of space, of time, of people,
who are in constant danger of becoming all brain,
will, or feeling.
Dancing demands a whole person,
one who is firmly anchored in the center of life,
who is not obsessed by lust for people and things
and the demon of isolation in one’s own ego
Dancing demands a freed person,
one who vibrates with the equipoise of all one’s powers.
I praise the dance.
O Creature, learn to dance,
else the angels in heaven will not know
what to do with you.

Music: Dancing with God – words of Mechthild of Magdeburg conveyed in music by Briege O’Hare, OSC in her album Woman’s Song of God

Mechthild of Magdeburg (1207 – 1282), a Beguine, was a Christian medieval mystic, whose book Das fließende Licht der Gottheit (The Flowing Light of Divinity) is a compendium of visions, prayers, dialogues and mystical accounts.


Lyrics:

I cannot dance, O Lord, unless you lead me
And if you want me to leap for joy,
Then you must be the first to dance and sing
And I will follow you, in your echo I will ring.
Then, only then,
Then, only then,
Then, only then, will I leap for joy!

I Cannot sing, O Lord, unless you lead me
And you want me to sing for joy,
Then You must be the first to sing out your song
And I will follow You and sing right along.Then, only then,
Then, only then,
Then, only then, I will sing for joy!

Lead me, Lord, in joyful dancing
I will follow in your dance of life.
Then all my living will be true to You,
My Loving God.

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