It’s a Dance

I have watched how they go these past weeks. Sweeping and diving, turning and landing—the migration ballet. When they swoop overhead, I am dizzy—lifted to heights, longing for wings. They move as one.

They call me a shepherd at my church. I have a flock that I tend. It’s a way for our church leadership to stay abreast of individual needs; divide the congregation into smaller groups and assign the elders to watch over them. As shepherd I am supposed to check in with my flock regularly. Make sure they are doing okay.

We have had troubles. Jesus said it would be so. We have brushed up against each other and bruised tender flesh in the jostling. Sheep do—they bleat wildly when alarmed, bumble about in fear. We lost sight of our shepherd for a time.

Sunday night we met in the sanctuary. There were some good words and some prayers and then we all flooded out into the narthex to dress up our church for Christmas. The Hanging of the Greens, we call it. Old and young were there—the same faces we always see when something needs doing…the same faces we’ve argued with and picked at and found fault with.

He said to love one another. The word in its original form is an action word. It’s something we are growing into—this Love like the Great Shepherd’s. It takes some hanging in. I’ve often wondered–as I lift my eyes to the sky, feel my breath leave my body as they move in unison across the sun—how do they do that? What drive inside pulls them forward, what cue from the next allows them to turn so gracefully as one–no hesitation, no clumsy choppy movements? I know it is written on their hearts—this greater purpose that allows for such harmony, such grace.

And as I hand an ornament to gnarled fingers, the same fingers that have lashed out at me and those I love in the past…I marvel at this thing that is written on our hearts too. This Love that overcomes. This Love that transforms. This Love that becomes.

So many times, our fellowship is like the sheep—mindless, aimless, losing sight of our shepherd. But Sunday night, we were like the Starlings. We moved as one, pulled by something greater—something we do not understand. In this great dance of Love, there can only be One who leads. When we follow the steps, turn with those subtle cues, follow the rhythm of our hearts—this is when we take wing. This is when we fly.

Today I am moving as one with some fellow bloggers who meet up at Bridget Chumbley’s place. We’re talking about Fellowship today. Join us? You are invited into this dance of fellowship…


  1. says

    Psalm 133
    A song of ascents. Of David.

    1 How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

    2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
    running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
    3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
    For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.

  2. says

    “We have had troubles. Jesus said it would be so”

    Yes. He said to be of “good cheer” for “I have overcome the world.”

    What better thing to have this time of season than good cheer? And loved what happened at the hanging of the greens. Fellowship. Friendship. Love.

  3. says

    One of the greatest gifts I received this year was having the women of the church come around my daughter at her bridal shower. These are women among whom there have been disagreements and unkind words through the years. And yet. The evidence of healing and grace, the work of God using us in one another’s lives to teach us repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation is such joy to witness.

  4. says

    I can so relate to this, Laura. We divided our church up into flocks about two years ago. My flock had about 150 people in it-way too many to really get to know. It was a hard time for us then- foster child who was difficult and my wife with some health problems. Some people said some harsh things…it made me bitter and I ultimately resigned. Still trying to extend to others the grace I desperately need myself…want to be like the starlings flying in beautiful harmony too. Is it possible?

    Love the way you write…the way you say so much so beautifully.

  5. says

    I can relate, too. This is a great way to get closer to the flock to be aware of needs. But, ironically, there are some who don’t want to be in that close contact. They like the distance. Ministry is a great challenge, but thankfully He equips and empowers us. Good post.

  6. says

    Only One Shepherd–if only we could remember His ways are the path to joy and life. All around us nature displays this wonder. I have had similar thoughts when watching the birds and schools of fish. Unity is beautiful when we first link up with the Lord. This was a beautiful post, Laura. Blessings.

  7. says

    Beautiful thoughts, but sometimes so much harder to put into action. Those bruises are sometimes deep lacerations that take time to heal. I am reminded of a friend’s dear words, “Jesus is the living water flowing through us and over each other. We are incapable of loving someone we don’t like, but all we need to know is Jesus loves them.”

  8. says

    To be led by the Spirit…breathing in His love for me…it naturally will flow and bind us…over coming things we can not imagine. The simplicity of Love…giving grace for God to do the rest

  9. says

    A gift of grace amidst chaos and conflict. Fellowship usually trumps selfishness. I’ve found this to be the case in my own journey with church “doing and loving”.

    It is a doing, this love thing, and church is often the best training ground for getting it right.

    Keep to it, sister. I can’t think of anyone better to shepherd a hurting heart.


  10. says

    “When we follow the steps.” I misread that as, “when we fellow the steps.”

    And I thought, why yes, that’s it. When we “fellow” the steps it makes the path seem gentler.

  11. says

    Beautiful post, Laura! So touching. I love studying about sheep and shepherds. Such great examples for us. (Wish you had an email subscription) Blessings to you!

  12. says

    I really understand and love the way it was expressed. AND one of the most amazing things I see during the year is when the flocks flood the skies. When I’m driving up the interstate those times of year, through NE, SD, ND, MN, etc., I nearly drive off the road b/c I’m so enhanced by watching the “dancing” that takes place. Would so much like being a leader or follower; knowing when to back off and let someone else step into the leading position just as the birds do. So much to learn through life…

  13. says

    What a wonderful picture you show here. As we focus on working together to glorify Christ, it can only result in love for each other. Of course…because he first loved us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *