Tag Archives: Ken Gire

The Lord of the Dance

I Hope you DanceKen Gire, in The Divine Embrace, writes about reflecting on where Jesus has taken us on the “dance floor” of our lives. Sometimes the dance goes so fast, the steps so dizzying, that we don’t recognize until much later that there was a pattern to it all.

But there is always a pattern – a reason for each step, a place He is leading.

Why do we so often fail to recognize this? Maybe we, in some ways, fear our own past, the decisions we’ve made – mainly those decision we know led us in the wrong direction. The times we tripped or stumbled on the dance floor – bruised our tailbone and our ego – are not things we want to see on instant replay. We want to forget them. Leave them buried. Move beyond them. Pretend such embarrassing or exposing moments never happened.

But in doing so, we forfeit something.

When I refuse to reflect, I forfeit the memory of the grace He offered at that moment when He held out His hand and lifted me up from where I had fallen. When He sat by my side until I was ready to dance again. When He held me in His arms and wiped away my tears. When He promised, “There is still a symphony. There is still a dance. And I still want to dance with you.”

The moments He takes our trips and stumbles and creates something precious – more so than a perfect dance without a single misstep. He creates grace and beauty. He extends His love.

Such moments we would do well to remember because those are the moments that show us the heart of He who is the Lord of the dance.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for each moment

With you on the dance floor

I love the rush, the exhilaration

The synchronic steps

Especially when they make sense

And I know where I’m going

But it doesn’t usually happen that way

For that is not the way you dance

So I falter. I stumble. I trip.

And I am afraid

That others will see and know I really have no idea what I’m doing.

Where I’m going.

“I’ll sit this one out.”

But you follow me. Sit with me.

Hold my hand and squeeze it when the music quickens, the beat changes.

As if to say, “Come on, this will be fun.”

Thank you for staying with me

For patiently waiting

And not taking my first “no” as my final answer

Thank you that you know me better

My fear. My timidity.

Yet you know I’ll be happiest

On the dance floor with you

Following your lead

Stepping in time to your rhythm

Even when I falter

Even when I stumble

Having your arms around me

So I never completely fall

Help me not fear to look back, even at the most embarrassing parts of the dance

To remember where you’ve led

THAT you’ve always led

And always stayed with me

I accept your hand

And join you in the dance once more

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Delight of the Dance

Baby Sleeping on Mother's Chest[From The Divine Embrace, by Ken Gire]

Dancing is more than getting the steps right. It’s about feeling the music and moving to the music. It’s about losing ourselves in the embrace of someone we love. Above all, it’s about joy.

There is satisfaction in getting the steps right. There is a thrill in the grand, sweeping movements of the dance. There is something gratifying about the acknowledgement of others. And yet . . .

The joy of the dance is not in the preciseness of our steps.

It’s not in the exhilaration of being swept away.

It’s not in the affirmation of the audience.

The joy of the dance is in the delight in our partner’s eyes.

The dance of intimacy is more than just steps. It’s about being in the Lord’s arms as we follow his steps, close enough to his heart that we feel the music. It’s not about just being swept away, however good that feels. It’s about being swept away by him. It’s not about what others think of us; it’s about what he thinks. And what he thinks is captured in his eyes. …

When Jesus looks at us, no matter how we feel about ourselves, he feels delight.

And that delight is in his eyes before we ever take our first step, just as the delight that God the Father had for his Son was in his eyes before Jesus took his first step. On the day of Christ’s baptism, a proud Father spoke out: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life” (Matthew 3:17, The Message). The Father delighted in Jesus before he died on the cross. He delighted in Jesus before he made his first disciple, before he preached his first sermon, before he performed his first miracle. Why? Because Jesus was his Son.

If you’ve ever had a child, you know.

The delight is there long before the first step.

[Baby Sleeping on Mother’s Chest — Image by © Jerry Tobias/Corbis]

A Glimpse of the Future

Curtains Open to the FutureIn his book Windows of the Soul, author Ken Gire speaks of a unique and telling way to discover our purpose in life, a way to find that path we are meant to walk … and the wonderful discovery that it is a road of joy as we follow “the voice of gladness” that whispers from the most unexpected places. Where have you heard that voice?

“Look back on your life … and put frames around the things that brought you joy. Do you see the pictures? Look at them. Look closer. Deeper. Are they windows? If so, what is it you see in them? What is it you hear? A voice? What is that voice saying? And can you hear it above all the other voices that have called to you over the years?

“The voice we should listen to most as we choose a vocation,” said Frederick Buechner in a graduation address, “is the voice that we might think we should listen to least, and that is the voice of our own gladness. What can we do that makes us the gladdest, what can we do that leaves us with the strongest sense of sailing true north and of peace, which is much of what gladness is? … I believe that if it is a thing that makes us truly glad, then it is a good thing and it is our thing and it is the calling voice that we were made to answer with our lives.”

“We skip down the hallways of our youth, you and I, stopping now and then to catch our breath. And every now and then we catch something else. A glimpse of the future. Our future. A glimpse we caught when we came across a window suddenly flung open in front of us, its gossamer curtains lifted by a breeze redolent with the future, filling our lungs with refreshing air and our heart with hopeful dreams.

“At that window we hear something like somebody calling our name, only in a language we can’t quite understand, so we don’t recognize who it is who is calling us or to where we are being called.

“But we recognize the name.

“Even in a foreign language, names translate closely to the original. Whoever it is calling us is calling us by our true name. Whispering to us a secret. Telling us who we are. And showing us what we will be doing with our lives if only we have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the faith to follow.”

Inconsolable Longing

looking up[Ken Gire, writing on Heaven, from Reflections on your Life]

Whatever else heaven is, it is more than our experience of life here on earth, not less. It is the fullness of life, not its reduction. It is the waking, as C.S. Lewis put it, not the dream.

From the glimpses given us… we know that whatever else heaven is, it is full of joy. The picture He left us with is one of merriment, of music, dancing, and feasting (vv. 22-25). “Enter into the joy of your master,” are the words He used in a parable to describe the rewards of heaven (Matthew 25:21, 23).

Now and then we get firefly glimpses of that joy… Fleeting moments that pass all understanding. Here one second, someplace else the next. With childlike excitement we follow them, hoping to catch one of them long enough to take in the wonder of it all.

C.S. Lewis describes the feeling as an “inconsolable longing.” In those moments of longing our joy speaks to us. It speaks to us the way the lick of the spoons speaks of birthday cake, the way the smell of roasting turkey speaks of the Thanksgiving meal, the way the scent of pine speaks of Christmas.

And what it speaks of, is heaven.

The Worth of One

The Good ShepherdAuthor Ken Gire writes about the shepherd that sought after the one lost sheep when he still had 99 safe and sound. From a business perspective, it doesn’t make much sense; it is more reckless than anything. But from the perspective of the one sheep that is lost, while it still might not make much sense, it means all the world to be found and carried home again.

I have had a hard time understanding why the shepherd would leave the ninety-nine that were safe for the one that wasn’t.

Think through this with me. If we owned a business, how much would it affect our balance sheet if 1 percent of our inventory was lost? … True, it has worth–1 percent isn’t zero. But would it not seem vastly more prudent for us to watch over the secured 99 percent and write off the fraction we may not be able to recover? Protect the vast majority of our assets and we cap our minimal loss. Or, chase that 1 percent and risk losing everything. How could that not be needlessly reckless? …

Another hard-to-fathom factor is the length to which the shepherd would go in order to find the lost sheep. In the story, Jesus said he searched until he found it. Which is to say, the shepherd did not give up.

Would darkness deter him? A scornful sun, a sudden storm? Wild animals? Robbers? The treachery of the terrain?

None of these things would dissuade him.

Why?

For the one lamb that was separated from him … for that one, the shepherd went to the edge, and beyond.

Why would he go to such extremes? He goes after the sheep because it’s his … because he loves it.

How much?

Enough to sacrifice his life for it.

Although I’ve read a number of Ken Gire’s books, and all of them are deep and amazing, I don’t think any of them took me to the point of tears so many times as this one titled Relentless Pursuit. Ken Gire says in the prologue:

This book is about the heart of God and the lengths to which his heart goes to find ours, to bundle it up in his arms and to carry it home. It is written from the perspective of the lost sheep. As such, it’s not a book for the ninety-nine who are safe as much as for the one who is not. That lost part is surely not the whole of who you are or the whole of who I am, but it is a real part nonetheless.

That this lost part is pursued by God reveals our worth.

That it is relentlessly pursued reveals how much.

I’m not a business-minded person, so I have no idea what percentage of loss an investor will just write off. I’m not a shepherd, so I have no idea how far the typical shepherd will go to find a lost sheep.

But I know there are parts of me that have strayed, parts of my heart that have been lost and found … and other parts that are still in hiding.

I also know that, no matter how small that part, or no matter how far it has strayed, the Good Shepherd seeks until He finds it, and carries it home in His arms.