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Invitations to Dance

Sabrina Portner

Editor’s Note: Sabrina Portner recently moved to Cochabamba, Bolivia to embark on a mission of love and accompaniment through FMS Overseas Lay Missions. Sabrina reflects on the ways God is inviting her to encounter Him in this new environment.

Everyday I wake up amazed by God’s love. This is most definitely not an exaggeration. I will admit part of the initial amazement is the breathtaking view from my bedroom of the Andes surrounding Cochabamba. God is constantly at work changing their hues as the sun moves through the sky each day.

Beyond the mountains, God has somehow settled me safely in a loving community of missioners, language school professors, and a caring host family. Despite this community my lack of spanish language skills and knowledge of Bolivian culture tempts me to retreat into a feeling of loneliness and isolation. Not knowing what the future of missioner life holds, I have found myself contemplating what’s next after these years as a missioner. When I realize these thoughts are consuming me I stop abruptly in my tracks, sit myself down and gaze into the face of Jesus.

Jesus, my love, speaks truth to me when I slow down to listen. He tells me I am not alone, never have been and never will be. I must soak in every moment of the present so as to not miss out on an ounce of His love. Jesus reminds me of this companionship day after day when I say I wake up amazed by God’s love. He reminds me to not be afraid of this brand new experience because God is truly holding my hand the entire time. Thankfully He won’t complain when I squeeze a little too hard either. Does all this sound a little fluffy? Maybe. I argue this is the faith of a child. It may seem too good to be true but really it’s radical.

Not only is Jesus holding my hand, sitting down beside me, and becoming one with me during communion, but He is also speaking through all of creation (cue the mountains once again). This is the Divine Dance as Richard Rohr names the beautiful constant relationship between the trinity and I. William Paul Young in his introduction to Richard Rohr’s book the Divine Dance describes this relationship with the trinity as “a rising rumble, like a midnight train approaching through the wastelands. Not only do we hear it from the distance, but we can feel it if we put our hands on the ground or in the water or in the torn bread and poured out wine. The rumor in the deep places of our souls is that there is a party going on and we can scarce trust our invitation. Could there ever be a toast raised to us? Might a hand reach out and lead us into the divine dance, whispering in our ears that we were always made for this? And so we wait for the kiss, the breath in and out that awakens our sleeping hearts to life. We were made for this utterly found within relentless affection.”

God has been inviting me into this dance in so many ways. I pray the spirit will always remind me to pay attention. God invites me through His magnificent creation of the mountains. He has invited me in the past when working with the fruits of His creation on our family farm. When I get my hands dirty, literally, they are covered in God’s love. The connection formed when I can have a conversation about bacteria in spanish with my host dad manifests the trinity as well. Being present, this is how we can feel the rumble of the trinity. Let us accept the invitation that has been sent to each one of us. Let us truly empty ourselves so that the dance may be fluid, natural and led by God.

Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for walking with me, for being so close to me, for being all I need. My friend Amy reminds me that as I look at the beauty of the mountains I am directed to you the creator. You also created me and You look at me with greater amazement than we look at the mountains.

Reflection Question: What do you need to empty yourself of in order to accept God’s invitation to the dance?