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St Johns Southgate

12 Jun 2015

A few weeks ago I found myself in a dark room dancing with complete strangers and I thought to myself: This is just like Christian worship.

I’m sure stranger things have been thought, but I’m fairly sure I was the only one having that thought in that place at that moment.

I was in East Melbourne for a session of No Lights No Lycra. NLNL is an opportunity for people to come together for about an hour to dance in an environment that is distinct in its mystery.

It’s mysterious because there is little to no lighting – meaning you can’t really see the people you’re dancing with – and talking is to be kept to an absolute minimum. On top of all of that, NLNL gatherings are drug and alcohol free.

That evening in East Melbourne was absolutely thrilling. Along with everyone else I was able to shed my self-consciousness and strangely and wonderfully revel in dancing in the dark. When the hour was up the music stopped and the crowd of dancers dispersed. We all went on our way, mostly in silence, back to the normality of our lives.

On the face of it there is no obvious connection with Christian worship. But I found myself making the link in the profound mystery of the experience. It was awe-inspiring to be gathered with others participating in something that cast aside my everyday sensibilities. What we were doing was somewhat unnatural, counter-cultural but at the same time incredibly uplifting.

Christian worship dwells in that sphere also. It’s a coming together of people in a way that isn’t part of your average person’s Sunday morning routine anymore. But like a room full of people dancing in the dark, we participate in something that is bigger than ourselves and which can’t be done on our own.

We join together in a common understanding that we can put our self-consciousness, our flaws, our failings aside as we allow the divine to work on us, in us and through us. We trust that Jesus is somehow, inexplicably meeting with us to love us, fix us, bless us and grow us closer together as a community.

In a splash of water or a sip of mid-priced fortified wine – things that on the face of it look as dull as a dark room – we believe we are encountering God. It’s not something I can explain, nor would I wish to. The mysteries of God have a purpose – they inspire awe because you can’t explain them.

These mysteries are available to all. Feel free to pop your head in at St Johns. If you rush off anonymously afterwards, that’s okay. But feel free to keep coming back to dance with us, and the divine, in the mystery of Christian worship.

Pastor Tom

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