A few Sundays ago, I noticed that we had done mass in 3/4 time – every song, every proper except the Gospel Acclamation (and a few bars of the Lamb of God) were 3/4. Rather a musical pun on the entire hour – to have all of the music in waltz time.
Mass is not just a ritual coming together to share our lives and prayer and the eucharist. Mass is rather like a dance, it seems. When my son was in high school, he had a tape that included about 4 songs that would loop and loop. One I remember was “The Dance.” And so, as we move through the steps at mass, we are dancing. Dancing with the Lord, dancing with each other.
During Lent and the Easter Season, Fr. Jack has spent a bit of time before mass teaching – talking about “what happens at mass.” Not what we do per se, what what is happening. He started at the the beginning with the gathering, the penitential rite, the Liturgy of the Word and on through the preface, consecretion, communion… all the way through. I think our waltz was the Sunday he incorporated the Preface into the homily instead of doing it beforehand. Wow! The man stepped out of his own way and let the Spirit speak. And, it was rather like being caught up in a passionate, moving dance – almost a tango.
So, I started thinking about this dance idea. On the very pragmatic level, the musicians, cantors, readers, eucharistic ministers, altar servers, celebrant and assembly must dance well together. Who is leading at this point? What step comes next? Do we spin, or dip, do a standard box step or add a flare? We must be engaged with one another to do this well. And on a deeper, spiritual level, that same applies. We must be engaged with the God, and God with us if this dance is to have the impact it needs on our lives.
I could go on about this for a long time – but I’ll cut it off now, and consider just how wonderful it is to take part in the eternal dance of life and love.