I Hope You Dance

2 Chronicles 5:2-14 (The Message)

All the priests there were consecrated, regardless of rank or assignment; and all the Levites who were musicians were there—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their families, dressed in their worship robes; the choir and orchestra assembled on the east side of the Altar and were joined by 120 priests blowing trumpets. The choir and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to God—orchestra and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to God:

Yes! God is good! His loyal love goes on forever!

Then a billowing cloud filled The Temple of God. The priests couldn’t even carry out their duties because of the cloud—the glory of God!—that filled The Temple of God.

I am starting this post as I am getting ready to dash out the door for my second to last Community Night with L’Arche Antigonish (will probably finish it when I get home). I am going to use this as our text for Eucharist, and talk about one of the many gifts that I think L’Arche brings to Antigonish: The call to dance and sing.

One of my best friends, Corrinne (Yuill) Boëker, used to work at L’Arche Cape Breton. When she heard I was moving to Antigonish, she told the L’Arche community that I was coming, and to be sure to reach out to me because I would be alone.

It’s funny, I don’t remember the very first time I met the community, but I know this: The folks of L’Arche Antigonish were my first friends here.  Two weeks after my arrival I was part of the gala for the Antigonish Highland Games. As I was walking onto Columbus field with the upper crust of tartan clad Antigonish society, I felt very lonely, because everyone in the line was waving to someone. I was next to our beloved Fr. Ray Huntley, and we often had to stop while he greeted people. I was the only one who didn’t know someone, and I cowered as I felt the occasional eye on me, “Who is that one?” “Is she new?”

Then, as we walked past the crowd, I started to hear, “Rev. Dawn! Rev. Dawn!” and there was Carol-Ann from L’Arche waving frantically at me. Then the whole community looked up and started calling to me, “Rev. Dawn! Rev. Dawn!” My loneliness was gone, and I felt so loved at that moment. Every time Carol-Ann sees me she shouts out the same salutation, “Rev. Dawn! Rev. Dawn!”, and I instantly know that I am unconditionally loved.

When I go to a community celebration, the L’Arche folks are usually there, and I know that when I feel like dancing, they are the folks to look for, because they will dance with me. We will dance together because we want to share our joy with one another and with everyone who is watching.

Over the past four years, I have had the privilege of celebrating the Eucharist with the folks of L’Arche. They welcome me to their bright, sunny chapel with hugs, kisses and stories. Their prayer always moves me to tears, because there are often tears. There is also great laughter and the immense joy of song. Like the priests in Solomon’s Temple, I am often so overwhelmed with their presence I can do nothing because of the cloud of God’s presence.

The people in Solomon’s Temple celebrated like that, with complete abandon. That is the openness of heart we are called to bring to our worship of God. God loves us with complete abandon, creating a world of beauty and wonder just because She is love. L’Arche reminds me to love with complete abandon, to dance, to sing and to be joyful, especially when others are watching.