Never Miss a Beat

IMG_1381-300x225.jpgI know that in the past I’ve shared that physical coordination is not my strong suit. I recall that I took tap lessons for about half a year when I was about six. I think all I came away with was a maneuver called “shuffle-ball-change,” a move that could easily look like the beginnings of a stumble. So, I was thrilled when my granddaughters in Virginia were signed up for ballet lessons with a Christian company that uses their church for rehearsals and performances. Due to the studio’s benevolence, all four girls are able to participate. I feel especially blessed when I get to see them perform, but even when I cannot be there, it is a great use of present-day technology to view the performance live on a screen or by video a short time later.
During last year’s recital, my then eight-year-old granddaughter, Bekah, was doing a lovely dance to “Today Is the Savior’s Day (by Rend Collective).” All was going beautifully when the group began taking side-steps toward stage left. Bekah was the farthest dancer on that side, and all of a sudden, she swung her arms and flopped right on the floor. Her recovery was immediate. To Bekah’s credit and proficient demeanor, she picked herself up, got right back in the dance, and never missed another beat! The routine was finished to perfection, and it is now a sweet and special memory to treasure.
I’m writing this message in the midst of Holy Week; we’ve just celebrated Palm Sunday. This year as I listened to the sermon at our church, I started to let my mind wander a bit to contemplate the distinct contrast between the hailing crowd that sang the Lord’s praises on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the rabid and angry crowd calling for his crucifixion a few days later. The most interesting thing is, it was predominantly the same people participating in these diverse events. How could those who were seemingly following Jesus get so out of step with him? To contemplate that rapid change can be quite unnerving! Of course, we know from the gospels that while they were not a part of the bitter throng save for Judas, each of the twelve disciples struggled with his own blunder in regard to Jesus. Judas betrayed him, but Peter denied him, Thomas doubted him, and most deserted him. How could recovery occur? Fortunately, the Bible records instances of reconciliation with the Lord, the most notable being Peter.
As the disciples gathered together after Jesus had already made two post-resurrection appearances to them, Peter and six other disciples of Jesus made plans to go fishing. Having an unsuccessful night on the sea of Galilee, a voice called out to them from the shore at daybreak to cast their net on the right side of the boat. When their catch of fish was so large it could not be hauled in, John immediately recognized the mystery influencer as Jesus. Impetuous Peter jumped right into the water and swam to shore. Jesus made provisions for breakfast as they all returned, and then he took time to bring Peter back into a right relationship with him. “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs’” (John 21:15, ESV). Three times Jesus asked him the question, matching the number of times Peter denied knowing Jesus. Though verse 17 states that Peter was grieved to have Jesus ask that third time, Jesus’ purpose was to restore Peter as his beloved disciple, servant, and friend. Essentially, Jesus invited Peter to pick himself up, dust himself off, and get back in the dance. Peter’s recovery was sure, as in the book of Acts Chapter 2, Peter preaches a heartfelt and significant sermon that confronted the Jewish leaders and compelled the people of Israel to turn to Jesus and be saved.
And so too, we are continually called to get back in step with the Lord because of his great compassion and love for us. Whether we make a misstep, a mistake, or even commit an outright sin, our recovery and ability to resume movement in the right direction is assured by this: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9, ESV). Or if we are simply feeling a little bit off balance and need some help to recover, the Lord is always there to guide our return onto the right path. We are brought back by grace into the perfect choreography he has ordained for our lives. It is always his desire that we continue on to fulfill the purpose that he has for us. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6b, ESV).
I am so looking forward to being in the audience for the girls’ next recital that takes place in just a couple weeks in which Bekah is once again a part. I am also excited to share that Bekah can be heard on our newest CD #5, Sing God’s Word – Spirit Among Us, voicing the role of Bekah Belle. I am happy to report that she did a fantastic job, and she never missed a beat!
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