Summary: We preserve in the museum of our memories some mummies - parts of us that once lived but have died. Can they live again?
“Making Mummies Dance”
“Making the Mummies Dance” is the title of Dr. Thomas Hoving’s memoir. In 1966 he became the Commissioner of Parks in New York City under Mayor John V. Lindsay. Hoving had earned a Ph.D. in art history from Princeton and had previously worked at the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Not many months after joining Lindsey’s administration the museum’s director died suddenly and the board asked Hoving to accept the position. He approached Mayor Lindsey saying, “I have been offered the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’d like to take it.”
Lindsey replied, “Well it’s kind of dead over there. But you should go there because you could make the mummies dance.”
Isn’t that a wonderful image?! Dancing mummies!
Why do people dance? There are many reasons but I suspect it’s most often an expression of deep emotion or passion – joy and love. Think about when people dance; wedding celebrations, athletes and fans after a victory, the end of a war, in worship of God.
My sermon is not about encouraging us to dance, but inspiring us to unleash the joy, love, passion and hope that dancing represents.
But what do the mummies represent? Death. Someone used to live but has died.
Today, let’s think of mummies as pieces of our lives that once lived, but have died. I’ll come back to that in a moment.
Our hearts and minds are like a museum. Old things are stored and preserved there; memories of experiences, people, places, facts and information. Sometimes we visit to view them, study them, ask how these changed the trajectory of our lives, what we learned, or what we’ve lost. Some memories in that museum inspire us to laugh, to cry, to think, to pray, to worship or to look away.
We keep some mummies in the museum of our memory – pieces of our life that have died. Your mummy may be a dream, a relationship, your sense of self-worth, your former spirit of determination. What mummies are entombed in the museum of your memory?
Why did those parts of you die?
Was it criticism? Someone said, “You can’t…” or “You’re such a loser” and you gave them the power to determine who and what you are.
Maybe it was fear. You decided, “This is way beyond me. What if I really mess up?”
Perhaps it was a death by misdirected priorities. You may have misjudged the value of things demanding your energy, or you became careless about what was really important.
Maybe you were misled. You believed a lie or put faith in another person and suspended your own dreams only to be led down a dead end.
Can any of your mummies live again? Can they dance?
Maybe some of them shouldn’t. That’s okay. Leave them and move on.
But some of them really should live again. So how can you make that mummy dance? How can you give life to parts of you that really should live but are locked away in a stale, dusty crypt?
We can find help from a time when dreams had died for many of God’s people. For their rebellion God had allowed them to be taken in captivity to Babylon and they thought life was over. But I believe there is help for us to be found in what God said to them, recorded in Jeremiah 29.