I know, I know, doing anything badly freaks some of us out. We like to pretend we are absolutely excellent at everything we do. Or maybe it’s just me. As if life is being graded by God…or at least other people.
We are invaded with that message, that life has standards to which we must rise. We inflict it on ourselves and others. Think how many magazine articles are aimed at being your best self (whatever that may mean), decorating the perfect home, rearing highly accomplished children, or dressing exquisitely. Even the church isn’t exempt. Competitive Christianity is alive and well when we hold up our high average Sunday attendance, the balance of our endowments, or the number of small countries we single-handedly saved from the zombie apocalypse as validations that we are doing Church the “right” way.
Of course, Lent reminds us that we fail…more that we care to admit. We fail at showing love, forgiveness, compassion, and mercy to ourselves and others. Good Friday is the epic fail of humanity.
And God shows up on Easter to say, “Yep, you failed, and I love you.”
God is not concerned with perfection. God is concerned that we keep trying to love, to forgive, to show mercy. God is concerned with the genuine effort and attempt. God is concerned with our trying our best in our dancing, our joy, our tears, and our love, and keeping at it, even when we fail.
Resurrection means failure is not the last word, that we have permission to attempt and fail and succeed. Far too many of us worry about doing something fabulous in ministry, but get stuck counting the cost when we form a task force. We dream about a Church that bursts forth from the tomb of stasis, but worry that we’ll look foolish if we spoke our dream out loud. We may even hear music God plays for our souls, but are afraid we aren’t good enough, so we sit rather than risk looking like a bad dancer.
A friend emailed me on Easter Monday to say that he’d had one of those moments while receiving communion on Easter day, when you get all emotional and feel connected with the historical Jesus, knowing he’s present with you in your feelings of failure and messiness and realizing that we’re getting our life lived as Christians wrong on lots of fronts, but Jesus is happy we’re trying.
Resurrection gives us freedom to try…to love, to dance, to sing, to minister, and to dream. Resurrection reminds us that failure happens, and so does life. Resurrection calls us to dance to the music God allows us to hear. Resurrection announces to us that perfection is not the standard, but love.
Put on some music today and dance. And don’t worry AT ALL about how you look. Just feel joy and music move your beautiful, God-created self.