May nothing evil cross this door,
and may ill fortune never pry about
these windows; may the roar
and rain go by.
By faith made strong, the rafters will
withstand the battering of the storm.
This hearth, though all the world grow chill,
will keep you warm.
Peace shall walk softly through these rooms,
touching our lips with holy wine,
till every casual corner blooms
into a shrine.
With laughter drown the raucous shout,
and, though these sheltering walls are thin,
may they be strong to keep hate out
and hold love in.
And so it begins – with a lilting 3/4 tune, which I have heard too many times played like a dirge. It’s full of strong sentiment, but it is a blessing, not a demand. It is a prayer, not a protest….although they are often the same thing.
My point, however, is that this opening hymn is a dance – a waltz, a welcoming, loving blessing to all of the spirits who enter: the book, the congregation, the faith, life itself.
Imagine if we greeted people at the door with a hand jive, then twirling them into our foyers, one-two-three, one-two-three to the ushers who lead them gently to seats and then dance off to meet the next willing, dance-filled congregants?
Imagine if the pianist choir cha-cha’d to the bench, hips gently propelling them to feel the rhythm of the beating hearts filling the room?
Imagine the choir doing the electric slide into the loft, rocking their souls soulfully into place?
Imagine the worship leaders entering with an energetic Charleston, weaving an energetic magic that catches fire?
Imagine the whole congregation moving and breathing in sync, ready to be together because their spirits already are engaged in the dance of welcome and blessing?