Brian McLaren states, “In the early church, one of the most powerful
images used for the Trinity was the image of a dance of mutual
indwelling. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit live in an eternal,
joyful, vibrant dance of love and honor, rhythm and harmony, grace
and beauty, giving and receiving.” He continues by contending, “The
universe was created to be an expression and extension of the dance
of God – so all creatures share in the dynamic joy of movement, love
vitality, harmony and celebration.”
What an incredible relationship that God has offered to humans. God
invites us to the dance of the celebration of life! But something
drastically happened. According to McLaren we broke with the dance.
He writes, “We stamped on the toes of other dancers, ignored the
rhythm, rejected the grace, and generally made a mess of things.” So
what are we humans left to do? How would we recover the rhythm of
Fortunately for us, God had a plan to bring us back into the tempo of
relationship. He gave us a partner to take the lead. It was his one
and only Son – Jesus Christ. McLaren pens, “But God sent Jesus into
the world to model for us a way of living in the rhythm of God’s
music of love, and ever since, people have been attracted to the
beauty of his steps and began rejoining the dance.”6
Jesus chooses the concept of divorce to demonstrate to the Pharisees how out of rhythm people had become in life.
The tempo of commitment is the responsibility of a husband and a wife in the good times of life. (vv. 2-9)
Do you remember your honeymoon? The idea of a honeymoon is to get to
know the individual better. There is a lot of laughing, physical
contact, a desire to please the other, and be on one’s best
behavior. For some couples the honeymoon lasts a few days while
others longer. It is the best of the good times of life.
It’s that way in all sorts of relationships . . . career,
friendships, church life, partnerships, and more. Life is exciting
and thrilling during the good times.
What are some ways to face the future with the good times of life?
* Vision together by mapping the future.
* Enthusiasm for what lies ahead. Victor Hugo said,
“Enthusiasm is the fever of reason.” Life has so much to offer and
enthusiasm heats it up!
* Cooperation and understanding. They are the give and take
in commitment and create “the good times” of life. Paul said that
the Christians were fellow laborers with God. How much more are we
in need of being fellow laborers together with each other.
* Courage is a matter of the heart which belongs to the other person.
The tempo of commitment is the responsibility of a husband and a wife in the bad times of life. (vv. 10-12)
At some point in our relationships we hit a snag and the good times
become “the bad times” of life. It is in the bad times that life
takes a detour and people are ready to divorce the other partner in
the relationship. Jesus says not to allow the bad times to destroy
the rhythm of the dance in life. It is precisely at this point that
steps need to be taken to change the dance step. We need to quit
stepping on the other person’s toes. So how is that accomplished?
* Communication. Carole Lombard won Clark Gable with a
simple tactic: “I was his best audience.”7 If we are to be good
dance partners in life we need to communicate our ideas, thoughts,
hopes and dreams.
* Purpose. In the movie Paint Your Wagon, Lee Marvin played
a philosophical drunk named Ben Rumstead. At the end of the movie
Rumstead is standing in the rain talking with the proprietor of a
local store. As they watch wagons passing along the street moving
out of town the proprietor says, “There are two kinds of people in
this world . . . them that moves on and them that stays. Ain’t
that the truth, Ben Rumstead?” Rumstead retorts, “No, that ain’t the
truth. There are two kinds of people in this world. Them that is
going somplace and them that is going no place.”8 What is needed
in life’s partnership to avoid the bad times is a purpose
together! If marriage, partnerships, friendships are going “no
place,” it’s time to get them going “someplace!”
* God. King Duncan wrote that over the portal of the
University of Cairo are the words, “Chemistry is important.
God is more important.” How true that is of life’s relationships. Is
God in the center of our relationship with others?
The tempo of commitment is the responsibility of caring. (vv. 13-16)
Jesus demonstrates how we should be committed to each other by
bringing children into the picture and says how much we should care
about them. The truth he is admonishing us is to have compassion for
one another. How is that demonstrated?
* Through love in action.
* Through helping action
* Through selfless action.
Welcome to the Rhythm of life . . . grab your partner and dance your life away!
Sermon brief provided by: Derl Keefer, Adult Development
Ministries Coordinator in the Sunday School Department, Nazarene
World Headquarters, Kansas City, MO
6. Brian McLaren, “Form in Translation,” Sojourners Magazine (March, 2006): 19.
7. King Duncan, Lively Illustrations for Effective Preaching (Knoxville: Seven Worlds Publishing, 1987) 117.
8. Herb Miller, Evangelism’s Open Secret (St. Louis: CBP Press, 1984)