Summary: A Father’s Day Sermon inspired by the recent song "Dancing with the Father". What it means to really have a Heavenly Father.
I grew up in a non-dancing house. My Dad was a conservative Baptist Pastor in Bakersfield, California and we just didn’t dance. As a matter of fact, though my Dad never preached against dancing I somehow new that dancing was right up there with murder, robbing a bank, and, well, you name it, dancing was a BIG one!
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I ever even thought much about dancing. I never wanted to go “clubbing” and I had no desire at all to dance, until I met Terrie. It was our honeymoon. We were at the Madonna Inn near San Luis Obispo. It was dinner time and we were seated near the dance floor. There was a pianist playing the piano and no one on the dance floor. Terrie looked at me with those “you’d better ask your wife to dance” eyes and I knew if I was going to enjoy the next 50 years of my life I’d better ask. So I did.
It was wonderful. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but it didn’t matter. The closeness, the intimacy, the trust and, I guess, abandon was something I had never experienced before. I loved dancing with my wife. Obviously, I will never forget that evening.
The next time I danced was with Promise Anne, my first daughter. She was just a baby and we would hold each other and “dance around the room” (sort of “King and I” style”). “Shall we dance…around the room…shall we dance…”. She loved it and so did I. It was the same for my other daughters. [Benji and I never danced – we would just do “head butts”. He was a pretty tough kid!]
Dancing with my daughters and them dancing with their father was pretty special. There was intimacy, trust, connection and, yes, abandon.
It’s interesting that there is quite a bit of dancing in the Bible, and most of it is good! My two favorite passages concerning dancing are found in First Samuel and the Psalms.
In Samuel King David dances before the Lord in praise as the Ark was brought to Jerusalem. As the symbol of God’s presence entered the city David put on his dancing shorts and headed into the streets, jumping, shouting, twirling in great joy. (That’s what the word dance means by the way – to twirl in great joy.)
The very last Psalm, Psalm 150:4 literally commands us to dance. “Praise him with the tambourine and dancing”.
God loves it when we dance. No, not the sensual, lusty stuff that passes for dancing on TV and stage. God is not at all interested in our “FAME” appeal. God loves it when we trust Him completely, connect with Him as He desires, draw close to Him and, yes, dance with Him with abandon!
There’s a problem though, many of us are afraid to Dance with the Father. Whether they ever meant to or not, our earthly fathers let us down. And our view of our Heavenly Father is drastically affected by our experiences with our earthly fathers.
If our earthly father was distant, we assume our Heavenly Father is far away.
If our early father was unreasonable and over demanding, we assume our Heavenly Father is unreasonable and demanding.
If our earthly father disconnected/distant we have a view of God who is unconcerned, unattached, far-removed from our lives.
And if you had a father who, no matter what you did – it was never good enough – you will assume that God the Father will never be pleased with you. The guilt, shame, hurt of your past will never be relieved.
We have grown to be afraid to dance with our Heavenly Father. Intimacy, trust, connection are ideas that just don’t seem to fit us and God. Forget abandon!
A research project was completed years ago studying the 50 most famous atheistic thinkers on our age. Do you know the one thing they all has in common? They all hated their Dads. If you have a bad view of your earthly father you are going to have a rough time relating to your Heavenly Father. [adapted]
So what’s the solution? What’s the good news?
The good news is that you still can dance with the Father. You still can enjoy connection, intimacy, trust and abandon with the One who created you. It’s doable!
All it takes is relearning what your Heavenly Father is really like. I call it the process of “re-fathering”. In other words, learning again (or for the first time) what it means to have a LOVING, CARING, CONSISTENT and CAPABLE Father.
We can dance with the Father – we just have to re-learn what kind of Father we actually have
WE CAN DANCE WITH THE FATHER BECAUSE HE REALLY CARES