The Gnostic Ghosts That Haunt Us
I was reminded this afternoon of a liturgy within a liturgy that I practice. My two youngest daughters, Erin Claire and Maili had their first dance recital. They are a part of a small ballet group made up of homeschooled little girls in our broader community. They danced beautifully, received their applause, smiled as only little girls can, and came and sat beside me, giving and receiving hugs. The entire rest of the family was there to cheer them on. The second dance troupe was a little older, and they danced to Pachelbel’s Canon in D. As they danced I glanced over at my eleven year old daughter Shannon, smiling joyfully as she took in both the music and dancing. She sat there in her wheelchair and rejoiced.
Each Lord’s Day at Saint Peter Presbyterian Church we confess our faith together. Usually we sing together either the Apostle’s Creed or the Nicene Creed. That is the liturgy I was reminded of. The liturgy within the liturgy is this—when we get to that part in either creed where we affirm our belief in the resurrection of the body, I look to my little girl Shannon. For her, and therefore for me, the resurrection of the body isn’t merely a theological affirmation. It isn’t merely a careful add-on to the really important thing, getting our souls saved. It is instead a promise to long for, to cling to, to rejoice in.
Our Lord came not just as a soul saver, but as a redeemer. The good news is not merely that our spirits do not end up in hell, but is instead that we will be saved to the uttermost, that our resurrected Lord has secured us completely. The effect of sin in the life of my precious little girl, the illness that leaves her so unsteady on her feet that she spends most of her days either in bed or in that wheelchair, this too will be beaten. Jesus, our hero, has promised to rescue my precious little maiden.
It was, however, in the context of that music and that dance that this became so much clearer. I once heard that Pachelbel wrote his Canon in D in a fit of ecstasy, believing he was hearing the very music of heaven. I heard he was so moved by what he heard that he never wrote another piece of music. And so I too think of heaven when I hear those strains. And there up front these little girls are dancing. I remembered as I watched Shannon watch, that Jesus would not only heal her body, that He would not only make her mind whole, but that He will on that great day dance with her. He will hold her close, and twirl about His throne room to the music of the spheres, and together they will laugh at the joy of it. As Aslan roared “Ohhh Children!!!” as he frolicked with Lucy and Susan after he was raised, so will Jesus roar “Ohhhh Shannon!!!” I will watch, and I will give thanks. This is the good news of Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Dance.