One evening last week, we sat outside in a quaint cafe, watching a high school musical group from Scotland perform. The backdrop was the 1000 year old Porta Nigra in Trier, Germany. The group displayed their talents in amazing ways, with various instruments, including their voices, in all musical genres. They were clad in dark polo shirts emblazoned with their school logos, but down below, the young men wore kilts. Fitting, I'd say. We'd seen them, the smiling teens of this group, milling around the city all day, and I smiled to myself at the teen boys' willingness to don their 'heritage'. They knew who they were, where they'd come from, and they knew their tasks at hand that evening.
The Porta Nigra is an aged 'gate' of the city of Trier, from the days of Constantine. It gives anchor to the newer modern city, and stands even now as a portal. A veritable time machine from the past into the current day. On this night, it towered behind the stage of these performers, a constant reminder of eons of history, even in the midst of electrical lights and microphones.
Their music was incredible. From classical pieces showcasing 15 violins, to a rock band with a lead vocalist gal that I will be watching for in the headlines someday. Then, the tempo and atmosphere changed. Smiles all around the audience beamed when a recognized tune began and hands found each other to keep time. "Ahhhh," I thought...."A Scottish jig".......Then the rest of the group of teens who were not currently on stage, probably 50 of them, erupted from their places at the back and began to dance in the side court what I guess was an age-old folk dance to the song being played. It was a partner dance, with the boys twirling the girls. And the smiles lighting the faces.
The joy of heritage.
Even as my hands were clapping along, and my ears and eyes feasting and enjoying this unfamiliar tune, I suddenly felt out of place in this scene.
I sadly thought, "Americans have no heritage......." A lump swelled in my throat as I wished I had one. A common shared history spanning thousands of years. A timeline encompassing emperors and conquests. A carved out niche in the span of time. A folk tune that we all know. I whispered to Sweet Thang, "We don't have a dance!"
As Americans, our country is still in its infancy, comparatively speaking. We're new. Something God began 234 years ago so some people with a 'heritage' already, could begin a new story ..... HIS (S)tory.......this time with HIM included. He gave them a place to include HIM. He gave them Life. And Liberty. And Success.
As we celebrate our Independence and "newness" by watching fireworks on the 4th of July, the rest of the world watches us and sees an oddity. A new thing. Will it crumble away as the years slowly carve out our niche? Will our Constitution, written by men seeking Him, erode as rubble from a failing wall?
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19
What is our dance as a country?
I think initially, it was one with HIM leading. Both of us hearing a common, yet different tune. One with vision. The world looks on, not hearing the song.
The rest of the world will never understand. Our dance is His dance.
And the music in the background is the sweet song of liberty.
Brought back to my present reality and the Scottish reel, Sweet Thang was appalled at my revelation. He bowed his back, and our Texas roots, and whispered back, "We do so have a dance!!! We have the Cotton-Eyed Joe!"
It's Multitude Monday...
the opportunity to live abroad so we can truly value that freedom
the precious lives given so I can be free
willingness of airmen, soldiers, seamen to stand in front of me and keep me free
a country rising up
bold men with vision who could hear a new song and envision a free nation
a God who still gives visions
a God who still gives passion
a God who still gives courage
a God who still gives wisdom....freely....abundantly...