Are you a Christian who hides that fact from others? Maybe you don’t want your colleagues and friends, or even family, to know you’re a Christian. But why? Can it be that your actions don’t align with your faith? Everyone knows I love to dance and at parties I sometimes really get into it. To religious folks, this is not Christian conduct—and I have wrestled with this.
On a recent trip to South Africa, I attended three church services and was captivated by the way services are conducted. The scriptures were read in various languages so everyone would understand. The parishioners were exuberant as they sang, danced, and praised God—their faces aglow. I was also struck by the way prayer was offered up to God. The pastor listed the needs of the members and the community, and then asked everyone to pray. All voices were raised in prayer, but in the languages of their tribes! I began praying, but paused and looked around as I took in the scene and listened to the sounds of their accents. My mind raced back over two thousand years to the Day of Pentecost—ha, as if I was there! After Christ ascended to heaven, the apostles were in Jerusalem when suddenly they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues. People had assembled in Jerusalem from several different countries and they all rushed to the place where the apostles were located to find out what was going on. They were stunned to hear their own languages being spoken by the apostles. They knew that the apostles were from the local region, so couldn’t believe their ears because they all understood what the apostles were saying…how was this possible? Read Acts 2. I felt the same amazement as I listened to the worshippers in South Africa.
Fast forward to the hotel where we stayed. Management had a great outreach program. Staff normally visited children in hospitals, but this year they brought the children to the hotel where they spent the day in various activities and were given gifts. Before they left, staff entertained the children with songs, some of which I remembered from the church. Managers, chefs, front desk attendants, busboys, housekeeping, and wait staff enthusiastically sang, clapped, and danced as they celebrated the children... in the front lobby, no less! They were not ashamed and neither was I, so I joined in!
Of course, there is a difference between dancing in church and dancing at a party. However, we need to be authentic in whatever we do, in our own imperfect ways. Having fun and enjoying our lives is not exclusive to living out our faith. I observe people being constrained and inhibited from joining any form of enjoyment that might be misconstrued as un-Christian. They forget a biblical fun fact…the first miracle Christ performed was to turn water into wine!