And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
I was in the house alone, except for my English Setters, Huck and Finn. I was lustily singing a Willie Nelson song to the plaintiff guitar strumming in my head. The dogs couldn’t hear the inimitable sound of Willie plucking his old signature guitar. They only heard me braying like a bereft mule. They thought it odd and said so by barking at me as if I were an intruder.
I stopped singing to ponder what it must be like to be inside their heads. What was it like to see a human singing and carrying on with no apparent prompt or reason? Then I thought how the world outside Christ perceives the behavior of those who glory in Him.
Is the dance of faith insane?
I thought of King David when he danced before the ark of the covenant to the embarrassment and scorn of his wife Michal…
And David danced before the LORD with all his might, wearing a priestly garment… But as the Ark of the LORD entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she was filled with contempt for him… When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!” ~2 Samuel 6:14,16,20
I thought of the way Stephen endured a violent, unjust death at the hands of angry men and the adverse affect it had on all but one of them…
The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage.mBut Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”
Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.n
As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died. ~Acts 7:54-60
Stephen was “dancing” to a tune these unregenerate religionists could not hear. He was moved by a sight they never saw, a voice they never heard, a love they could not possibly comprehend. How it must have drilled into their rancid souls when he, through broken teeth and bloodied lips, interceded for their forgiveness.
Only one person in that crowd (that we know of) was ultimately stirred to embrace Christ and the Cross: the “young man named Saul.” Saul would later be known as the Apostle Paul and would himself become the New Testament era’s mightiest, most vocal, most celebrated, and most reviled evangelist.
Saul would hear the music others could not understand on the road to Damascus and this Pharisee sworn to the destruction of the church would become the mighty apostle. Those with Paul heard the voice he heard, but it did not mean to them what it did to him. It did not impact their lives the way it did his. (Acts 9)
Late in his life, in the events that would ultimately culminate in his death, Paul told his story of redemption to King Agrippa and his court. A dignitary of that court named Festus declared, “Paul, you are insane! Too much study has made you crazy.” (Acts 26:24)
What’s this music that makes you dance, Paul? It isn’t like the dance we do. You are out of step, man.
What you call crazy and what I call crazy are not the same thing.
You look around our homogenized society, where everything and anything can suddenly become a trend (if only for a few hours). I read something about how middle schoolers are into flipping water bottles at the moment. A few weeks ago, on a Saturday, I walked home from work, taking time to amble down a walking trail through a city park. I saw 20-30 people, adults and kids, looking like the Walking Dead, walking in odd patterns in the park, eyes glued to their cell phones, trying to capture the Pokemons in their heads.
Things like that aren’t crazy to a society desperately filling its soul with whatever pleasures and pastimes will get them to senility and the silence of the grave. Whatever it takes to drown out the voice in their head that says, “Meaningless, meaningless. All of this is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
But following Christ, loving your enemies, praying for those who abuse you, giving with no strings, valuing the gold in the Golden Rule over mob rule, valuing a soul more than your savings, walking this way when the crowd goes that way…
That’s crazy, man.
Just ask Huck and Finn.