The Great Dance
Once upon a time, long long ago . . .
(Okay, okay — this is my myth, and I’m using it to tell the truth. This is the easiest way I know to do this, so humor me if you will.)
Once upon a time, oh, so long ago that no one remembers it but God, there was nothing but God. God filled everything (and perhaps He still does). There was no nothing because nothing is non-existent, and always has been — but there was God — everywhere. God was satisfied within God’self, consisting of three persons who are One — the Godhead, we call it today, or the Trinity. God was love then as now, and could only be love because — though He was One, yet He was three: The Father, the Son, the Spirit, co-eternal, co-equal, in perfect unity, the original and the one perfect community, pouring themselves out to one another in a never-beginning, never-ending jubilee. Today theologians and poets call this the Great Dance. Back in the day though, it needed no name.
Because of love’s generosity and its infinite desire to love yet more and more, God conferred amongst God’self and the Father said to the Son, “I would that you had a bride, My Son.”
The Son said to the Spirit, “I would you had a sanctuary, my dear Mentor.”
The Spirit said to the Father, “I would you had many children; brothers and sisters just like the Son, my dear Lord and King.”
“It will cost us much,” the Father said.
“It must fall on me,” said the Son, “to purchase this bride and set her free from the bondage she must rise out of.”
“I shall teach them,” said the Spirit, “and turn their hearts toward their Father.”
“And I,” said the Father, “will make you, my Son, All in All to them — as I receive them unto Myself — We are agreed then. Let us make man in our own image; in the image of God we will make him; male and female we will create them.”
From a mortal point of view, it wasn’t quite so simple as all that. For God though, a thousand (or a billion, billion) years are like a day, since God is not affected by time as we are. Time is merely another dimension of God’self through which to travel at will — if One who is everywhere can be said to travel.
God prepared a nearly invisible something; infinitely small and incredibly dense. We would call such a thing a singularity — the seed of a universe. He planted it within Himself, as there could be no other where. The seed grew swiftly, explosively. It would be wrong to say this hurt or displaced God, though. God is Spirit — even three-in-one, and such things cannot hurt a spirit.
The years formed along with the stars, and the quasars, and finally the planets took up their part in the wild whirling dervish of the unfolding universe. Life sparked at long last, on a small blue and green orb — just the right size, circling a star just the right size, in a quiet backwater of the celestial ballroom where it would remain safe for many long ages — and so it did. Maybe this happened over and over on other planets as well; maybe in other universes; but this one planet, and this one universe only do we know, for it is our planet and our galaxy and our very own universe.
It is here our ancestors got the form they finally bequeathed to us, the humans. Here also our beasts developed and are developing still, some quite close to consciousness, others yet far, far away from it. We awakened first, for our brains and bodies were ready. The Father breathed the life of the Spirit first into our nostrils — consciousness into our minds. We began to know, and we have been knowing more and more ever since.
We have a story, and in our story, our Father God offered us two trees: one the Tree Of the Knowledge Of Good and Evil, and one the Tree of Life. In our new-awakened cleverness, we chose the former. It has proven to be an unfortunate decision. Our Father offered us Life — even commanded us to spurn the beautiful TOKOGE — yet it was that tree we chose. He offered us a place in the Dance — His Dance — to receive our knowledge from His hand, by His guidance. But even today, when millenia of wars and torments follow in our train, mocking us with the screams of children and the wailing of bereaved fathers and mothers, lovers and friends and brothers and sisters and daughters and sons, and the suffering of the beasts — even today we continue to choose the TOKOGE over the ToL. Why?
It is our nature. The nature of the beast, inherited from our ancestors — from a time before we awoke. This is the mere cleverness we so cherish — bereft of the Life we ought to have chosen — and had the knowledge too, through the life. We do what seems right for ourselves and for those we care for. We live selfish lives, neglecting the care of our neighbors, of our beasts, of our planet, and we cannot seem to help ourselves — all of ourselves — to be better. We long for the community we were awakened into, but so quickly rejected. We try to recreate it for ourselves, but we create only horrors — tyrannies and gulags and societies of slaves and masters. We are all slaves to the beast nature at least a little, and some of us far more than others.
And we ask, “Why does God allow this?” But God allows it because it is what we demanded. We wanted, and we still want, to captain our own ship. Some of us do very well, but others wander lost, behaving like the beasts, and worse — far worse. For beasts, while they can be savage, are not capable of conscious cruelty. We are. We have become, some of us, a horror. Intelligent beasts behaving with cruelty toward one another and supposing it to be right and good that we should do as we please.
“But where is God?” we ask again. “How can a good God allow such things?” Yet if He intervened every time some human behaved badly, could we ever learn to be good for true goodness’ sake? Think — where would He stop? If God wants free beings, doing the right for the sake of the right, then God must stand back, let it play out as it will, let us see the consequences of our behavior, let us rise up, if we will, and speak out for the oppressed and rescue the helpless and offer a guiding hand to the blind.
The story is incomplete because it is still unfolding. We have been invited to join the Great Dance of the ages, and all the steps of this ballet are giving, pouring out, loving, caring for one another, without thought of recompense. Some try to silence the players and cripple the dancers — these are devils, whether human or not. Some hang about the sidelines, joining neither the devils nor the dancers — these are the masses, afraid to give away too much of themselves, lest they lack what they need. Some enter in with the abandon of love, pouring out their lives for the joy of healing others. These are the children of the Kingdom, who welcome all who would join them, and love all who are in need of their love. They are few, but perhaps their ranks are swelling. Some know they are God’s own; some will be surprised to hear it when He says so.
All of these are too caught up in the music to think much about their place in the scheme of things. They just surrender to the current of love flowing. And they dream of the day when the side-liners and even the devils lose themselves and so find their higher natures in the great whirl of giving and loving and being and knowing — and tread the Great Dance together.