LET’S DANCE AGAIN
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On Friday, I was watching a Disney short film called “Us Again”. The film is about a world where everyone is dancing. Everyone. . . except this old man that just wants to be in his recliner watching TV. His partner, who is as old as he is, wants to go out and tries to entice him to dance. But he does not want to. She goes out alone into the world and he stares at her from his balcony… until it starts to rain… and something miraculous happens. He is young again… and finds a reason to dance again.
Death and Resurrection
This film, which came out in 2021 seems to be a perfect film for the times that we are living in. It is an invitation to look back and to move forward, knowing that even when times passes, even when we confront moments in our lives that are painful… or even when our body aches… there is always an open invitation to find joy in life.
It reminded me of 2 Corinth 4: 16 “16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.”
As Paul speaks to the church in Corinth, he reminds them of the implications of following a Teacher that even though is divine, has to go through all the sufferings that any human can face: not having a roof over his head, depending on the kindness of strangers, facing rejection for the authorities that looked at him with mistrust and content, being accused and condemn while innocent and being sentenced to die.
This was important for Paul to express because people were doubting his ministry precisely because it was hard. There were people in the congregation that were saying that persecution and suffering are signs of failure. And Paul is trying to express that the contrary is true: as Jennifer V. Pietz states, his suffering shows that he embodies “the preaching of the gospel of the One who died to liberate people from sin and death—a victory made complete by God raising Jesus from the dead.”
To Pietz, Paul is trying to demonstrate that all Christian life “involves continual death and resurrection in conformity with the crucified and risen Christ.” In Christian life, death and resurrection are as connected as lament and hope, and as grace and gratitude, not as dualistic terms or as two extremes, but as a continuity of process, in which life is made of moments of death and moments of resurrection, moments of lament, and moments of hope, moments of grace and moments of gratitude. As Cynthia Briggs Kittredge explains this process in life, or “The process of preparation takes place in the tension between outer and inner, present and future, seen and unseen.”
God of Death and Resurrection
Human beings then, have always had problems with understanding this dynamic. When there is death, we have trouble seeing resurrection. When there is resurrection, we crash when death comes a calling. Where there is suffering, it is hard to believe in joy. And when there is joy, we try to avoid suffering, without understanding that it is always around the corner, and that it is not a sign of sinfulness, of being cursed or of having a bad juju… it is the same life that the Teacher that we followed faced.
Paul states that “even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” I am now 53 years old. I know that at some point I will die. We will all die. But my hope in this life and what I’m working towards is that I can grow in my ability to rebound to joy, to hope and to gratitude. And that ability does not necessarily come from things that are ephemeral, fleeting or finite (efímero, fugaz o finite), but eternal. What does that mean? That I’m depending not only depending on my own strength, on my own body, or on my own resources; I’m grounded on the one that died and was risen, and, on the family, he left here, the church. I’m not alone in my suffering. I’m not alone in my pain. Suffering and pain are not signs that God has abandoned me. The one that faced pain and death, also can bring to life joy and hope.
The ending of the movie that I mentioned at the beginning was surprising to me. The rain turns the old couple into young people. They start dancing… but as it always happens, the rain must stop. The rain clouds move away. The old man notices that when it stops raining on him, he turns old again. He chases the rain, grabbing his beloved by the hand. He runs, until he finds a pier… and they cannot go on, because they will fall into the sea. He is so fixated with staying young that he leaves her behind… and he watches in sadness as the rain clouds go into the sea.
When he looks back, he realizes that she is sitting in a bench, looking down. He goes to her and sits down beside her. Both look deflated and defeated. He does not know what to do. Then, he looks at the land. There is a carnival going on, and in his hurry, he had not noticed. In the carnival, everyone is dancing, everyone is joyful. And he remembers what it's like to dance. He looks at his beloved... and invites her to dance.
There are many things that have been lost during this time: lives, relationships, jobs, health, trust, peace… so many things. But as we remember all the suffering and death… we are called to also remember joy and resurrection, because that is what life is made of.
We are called to remember… because as Paul said: “We know that if the tent that we live in on earth is torn down, we have a building from God. It’s a house that isn’t handmade, which is eternal and located in heaven.” May we remember… to dance again… because as the hymn says… we follow and serve “The Lord of the Dance.”